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Software Science

New Largest Prime Found: Over 7 Million Digits 305

Jeff Gilchrist writes "On May 15, 2004, Josh Findley discovered the 41st known Mersenne Prime, 2 to the 24,036,583th power minus 1. The number is nearly a million digits larger than our last find and is now the largest known prime number! Josh's calculation took just over two weeks on his 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 computer. The new prime was verified by Tony Reix in just 5 days using only half the power of a Bull NovaScale 5000 HPC running Linux on 16 Itanium II 1.3 GHz CPUs. A second verification was completed by Jeff Gilchrist of Elytra Enterprises Inc. in Ottawa, Canada using eleven days of time on a HP rx5670 quad Itanium II 1.5 GHz CPU server at SHARCNET. Both verifications used Guillermo Ballester Valor's Glucas program." Read on for more on the discovery, including how you can help find more primes.

Gilchrist continues "If you want to see the number in written in decimal, Perfectly Scientific, Dr. Crandall's company which developed the FFT algorithm used by GIMPS, makes a poster you can order containing the entire number. It is kind of pricey because accurately printing an over-sized poster in 1-point font is not easy! Makes a cool present for the serious math nut in your family.

For more information, the press release is available.

Congratulations to Josh and every GIMPS contributor for their part in this remarkable find. You can download the client for your chance at finding the next world record prime! A forum for newcomers is available to answer any questions you may have.

GIMPS is closing in on the $100,000 Electronic Frontier Foundation award for the first 10-million-digit prime. The new prime is 72% of the size needed, however an award-winning prime could be mere weeks or as much as few years away - that's the fun of math discoveries, said GIMPS founder George Woltman. The GIMPS participant who discovers the prime will receive $50,000. Charity will get $25,000. The rest will be used primarily to fund more prime discoveries. In May 2000, a previous participant won the foundation's $50,000 award for discovering the first million-digit prime."

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New Largest Prime Found: Over 7 Million Digits

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