## New Largest Known Prime Number: 2^57,885,161-1 254

Posted
by
timothy

from the sorry-won't-fit-on-vanity-plate dept.

from the sorry-won't-fit-on-vanity-plate dept.

An anonymous reader writes with news from Mersenne.org, home of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search:

*"On January 25th at 23:30:26 UTC, the largest known prime number, 257,885,161-1, was discovered on GIMPS volunteer Curtis Cooper's computer. The new prime number, 2 multiplied by itself 57,885,161 times, less one, has 17,425,170 digits. With 360,000 CPUs peaking at 150 trillion calculations per second, GIMPS — now in its 17th year — is the longest continuously-running global 'grassroots supercomputing' project in Internet history."*
## Re:Uhhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

111 1111 1111 == 2047 == 23 * 89

Funny how many assertions here that number disproves

## Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

Your first question: "What has it added to the study of prime numbers?", I'm not sure but...

Your second question: "What use is that? (the study of prime numbers)"

Well... Nearly all modern public key cryptography (SSL / TLS / SSH etc.) is based on the asymmetry in time between the multiplication of two prime numbers (very fast operation) and the factorization of the result back into these two primes (very very slow: the goal being to make so slow that it become impractical to do).

Actually, it's "worse" than that: the "proof" that most modern PKCS crypto works is: "It's hard to find the (prime) factors of the product of two primes".

In other words: the study of prime numbers is one of the most important area of mathematics when it comes to computer security.

## Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

Do I believe Wikipedia? Or do I believe Donald Knuth?

Why should you believe either? One of the basic (meta-)principles of mathematics is that you don't have to take anyone's word for something. You can check out their claim yourself, using existing reference material and your own mind. This isn't facetious; mathematical and scientific results have occasionally been shown to be erroneous.

If you are unwilling to do these things, you're abandoning your (and your children's) future to those who are willing to do them (or to pay others to do them ;-). The dominant power and wealth in the human society now belongs to those who can handle technology. If you demand

beliefrather thanunderstanding, you are handing control over to those willing to gain the understanding.If you can't appreciate the aesthetic justifications for learning about math and science, you certain must be aware of the history of successes and improvements in our world by their practitioners. Few of us would like to go back to stone-age hunter-gatherer societies. It's the experimenters and reasoners that got us past that stage.