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# Largest prime number discovered

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The largest prime number has been discovered — and it's 17,425,170 digits long. The new prime number crushes the last one discovered in 2008, which was a paltry 12,978,189 digits long.

The number — 2 raised to the 57,885,161 power minus 1 — was discovered by University of Central Missouri mathematician Curtis Cooper as part of a giant network of volunteer computers devoted to finding primes, similar to projects like SETI@Home, which downloads and analyzes radio telescope data in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

http://www.nbcnews.c...e/#.URGC6fJw5RM

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The largest prime number has been discovered

Wow. Just, wow. The largest prime number has been found? Take that, Euclid!

This is another fine example of ``scientific'' ``journalism''.

Heavens, the headline ``Record-setting prime number discovered!'' is just too dull... we should say ``The largest prime number has been discovered''.

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When I first read it I thought that 17,425,170 was then number, then I was all like 'that ain't no prime' and realised what the article was actually saying...

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*eagerly waiting to find out what exactly we are going to use this particular fruit of tons of resources invested*

I mean, surely, there must be a useful application of this finding so all the effort can pay off. It can't have been a waste of enormous amounts of time and resources, can it?

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Is there no end to it? Well, no, there isn't.

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Is there no end to it? Well, no, there isn't.

I agree. It may take some time, but eventually there will be an even higher prime number found, and then an even higher number and again even yet a higher number and even yet more still a higher number. We will only find the highest number when we stop searching.

Let's carry on looking!

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thats a great news. Also it show the importance of volunteer network who are a solid foothold in science, not only SETI, but also LHC (large hadron collider) also benefit in some degree from this, and many other programs, ranging from quantum to ecology (type BOINC on google, download and install it and choose some science project you wish to support). A cheap way to get computer power, otherwise will cost millions in hardware, software and technicians.

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Why don't they check to see if the number just a few higher than it - say, four, five or six higher than it - is also a prime?

Edited by TheLastLazyGun

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OK - How is this relevent to anything? Universities don't have anything better to do? I realize this was done with volunteers, but something more meaningful would have been nice.

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They do it as an exercise in ways to develop better algorithms.

It would be interesting if someday one of these prime numbers or one of these irrational numbers sent us a message.

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but something more meaningful would have been nice.

Like what?

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Could it not have been the university's mathematics department which came up with this largest prime number?

Surely that's one of the things that university mathematics departments are supposed to do.

You can't expect a university maths department to come up with a cure for cancer.

Edited by TheLastLazyGun

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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.

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OK - How is this relevent to anything? Universities don't have anything better to do? I realize this was done with volunteers, but something more meaningful would have been nice.

Many modern encryption algorithms (like RSA and DSA) that are used to secure computer systems and networks rely on the assumed difficulty of factoring large numbers.

Since every number can be expressed as a product of primes, testing out different algorithms to see how effective they are at finding primes (especially large primes) is a good way of making sure that these encryption schemes are still secure.

Using volunteer computer time to test out prime searching algorithms is a worthwhile task if it means ensuring that the only feasible way to hack online banking information (for example) is by stealing each person's password, rather than cracking the entire encryption framework.

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I think that this sort of discovery could be made to look insignificant once quantum computers are operational and fully functional.

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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.

Well, seems kind of obvious that it's the largest found as of yet since numbers are endless. If someone cares to search for the next prime number then that one, once found, will be the largest prime number discovered.

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Well, seems kind of obvious that it's the largest found as of yet since numbers are endless. If someone cares to search for the next prime number then that one, once found, will be the largest prime number discovered.

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 irk me

And "since numbers are endless" is not proof that there are an infinite number of primes.

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I tend to agree with some of the comments here, as opposed to the article.

So, I also am under the impression that super-large prime numbers are somehow important to advanced cryptography(from casual reading on the subject)

Never was too good at higher math, so I could be wrong.

Edited by pallidin

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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 discovered recently, 257,885,161 − 1, which is also the largest known prime, is only the 48th Mersenne prime so far discovered, giving it the name M48. It has 17,425,170 digits.

Since 1997, all newly-found Mersenne primes have been discovered by the “Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search” (GIMPS), a distributed computing project on the Internet.

As of November 2012, GIMPS has a sustained throughput of approximately 95 teraflops, theoretically earning the GIMPS virtual computer a place among the TOP500 most powerful known computer systems in the world.

But could this new prime really be M48? In other words, could there be another Mersenne prime lurking between this one and M47, which is a mere 243112609−1?

In fact, according to GIMPS, only the first 41 Mersennes truly qualify to be called M1..M41. From M42 to M48, we're still unsure.

Edited by TheLastLazyGun
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The largest prime number found?! This is the greatest news I've heard in a long time!

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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.

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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

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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 irk me

And "since numbers are endless" is not proof that there are an infinite number of primes.

hmm... Ok, well, thank you for clarifying your post.

since numbers are endless, there is no doubt more primes exist. It's inevitable.

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Forgive my noobness but whats the big deal of a large prime number?