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Largest prime number discovered

Posted on Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 | Comment icon 29 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: flaivoloka /

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."

  View: Full article |  Source: NBC News

  Discuss: View comments (29)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #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!
Comment icon #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.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Frank Merton on 7 February, 2013, 15:28
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.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Lava_Lady on 7 February, 2013, 16:05
hmm... Ok, well, thank you for clarifying your post. since numbers are endless, there is no doubt more primes exist. It's inevitable.
Comment icon #24 Posted by magzire on 7 February, 2013, 16:38
Forgive my noobness but whats the big deal of a large prime number?
Comment icon #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.
Comment icon #26 Posted by H132 on 8 February, 2013, 20:13
Wow... calm down Sheldon Cooper!
Comment icon #27 Posted by Iron_Lotus on 10 February, 2013, 6:56
Comment icon #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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