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# Largest prime number discovered

Posted on Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 |  28 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: flaivoloka / sxc.hu

Found using an extensive network of computers, the ridiculously large number is 17,425,170 digits long.

The discovery was made by mathematician Curtis Cooper from the University of Central Missouri. To find it, Cooper used a vast network of volunteer computers known as the "Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search" with a combined total of more than 360,000 processors. The setup is similar to the SETI@Home project which uses spare processing power on people's computers to help analyze astronomical data.

"It's analogous to climbing Mount Everest," said George Woltman who invented the system. "People enjoy it for the challenge of the discovery of finding something that's never been known before."

"The largest prime number has been discovered — and it's 17,425,170 digits long."

Source: NBC News

#19 Posted by TheLastLazyGun on 7 February, 2013, 15:12
This prime is not an ordinary prime, either. It is a Mersenne prime. And, as everybody knows, a Mersenne prime can be written in the form 2p?1, meaning that it's a power of two, minus one. That's the binary number consisting of 1 followed by p zeros, with one subtracted. That, in turn, means it's the binary number that consists of the bit 1 repeated p times. Mersennes are denoted by M(p), where p is the power of 2 they're one less than, or just as Mn, where n indicates the prime's position in the pecking order. The lowest Mersenne prime is 3. All Mersennes are odd number. The new prime discove... [More]
#20 Posted by Mnemonix on 7 February, 2013, 15:26
The largest prime number found?! This is the greatest news I've heard in a long time!
#21 Posted by J. K. on 7 February, 2013, 15:26
I think it's rather obvious. They are researching these numbers in order to be able to count the U.S.A.'s national debt.
#22 Posted by Frank Merton on 7 February, 2013, 15:28
Is it the largest prime number or is it the largest prime number yet found? There is a very significant difference which apparently the author of the article doesn't understand or isn't careful enough to be bothered with. Shoddy reporting at its finest. I suspect you already know this, but the way you worded your post has me wondering. We have known since ancient times that there is no largest prime.http://primes.utm.edu/notes/proofs/infinite/euclids.html
#23 Posted by Lava_Lady on 7 February, 2013, 16:05
My point is that the writing is sloppy and the product of one who is careless and lazy. The headline states that the largest prime number has been found. This is factually incorrect since there are an infinite number of primes ... http://primes.utm.edu/notes/proofs/infinite/euclids.html If the author had taken 30 seconds to do some research, the error could have been avoided by using something like "yet discovered" and then could have explained the difficulty in finding these large primes, how awesome the discoveries are, the significance, etc. It is the imprecision and carelessness that most ... [More]
#24 Posted by magzire on 7 February, 2013, 16:38
Forgive my noobness but whats the big deal of a large prime number?
#25 Posted by AsteroidX on 7 February, 2013, 16:40
I believe it was the economics dept figuring what our future debt clock is going to need to be calibrated for.
#26 Posted by H132 on 8 February, 2013, 20:13
My point is that the writing is sloppy and the product of one who is careless and lazy. The headline states that the largest prime number has been found. This is factually incorrect since there are an infinite number of primes ... http://primes.utm.ed...te/euclids.html If the author had taken 30 seconds to do some research, the error could have been avoided by using something like "yet discovered" and then could have explained the difficulty in finding these large primes, how awesome the discoveries are, the significance, etc. It is the imprecision and carelessness that most irk me And "since ... [More]
#27 Posted by Iron_Lotus on 10 February, 2013, 6:56
#28 Posted by shrooma on 14 February, 2013, 12:56
I know a prime number that's 17,425,171 digits long! i'd type it out so you could check the veracity, but well, you know, my dinner break is only half an hour long.....

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