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Math Supercomputing Science

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

An anonymous reader writes with news from, 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."
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New Largest Known Prime Number: 2^57,885,161-1

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  • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @01:46PM (#42798879)

    I'm not trying to be inflammatory here... this is a genuine question.

    Why? I mean... why bother with calculating this.. What has it added to study if prime numbers? And if it's added to the study of primes... then what use is that?

  • Number of Digits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @01:47PM (#42798897) Journal

    The new prime number, 2 multiplied by itself 57,885,161 times, less one, has 17,425,170 digits

    "There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."

    This new number is 2^57,885,161 - 1, so naturally it has 57,885,161 digits, all of them 1. A simpler example: 2^5 - 1 is a Mersenne prime. Written in binary it's 100000 - 1 = 11111.

    Oh! You meant that it has 17,425,170 decimal digits. Booooooooring!

  • by dwillmore ( 673044 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @01:51PM (#42798953)

    Yes. The LL test only works on Mersenne numbers--numbers of the form 2^p-1 where p is prime. The LL test is not statistical. It can determine if a given mersenne number is prime or not without any doubt.

    To protect against errors, GIMPS (Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search) uses a variety of double checks to ensure no number if mistested. Any number that passes the LL test is double (and sometimes triple checked) to verify that there wasn't a hardware or software error that caused a false positive. I had the honor of performing the double check of a record Mersenne prime some time ago.

  • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @02:09PM (#42799243)
    I'm just trying to weigh the energy consumption versus potential benefit. The GIMPS homepage does a terrible job of explaining why (I'm not suggesting that there is no reason to do this) and a linked FAQ is hardly better ( [] ). Can anyone provide a better answer or instruct those running the GIMPS homepage to do so?
  • Re:Uhhh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sgunhouse ( 1050564 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @03:12PM (#42800099)

    If the exponent is not prime, then the number will not be prime.

    I don't do HTML, I'll use the symbol ^ for exponent (I don't do C either). Let's suppose c = a*b, then 2^c - 1 is divisible by both 2^a - 1 and 2^b - 1. (That's true with x instead of 2, the difference being 2^1 - 1 is 1 which is not prime.) Whether the definition requires primality or not, mathematics dictates that the exponent must be prime.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cryptizard ( 2629853 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:35PM (#42801181)

    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".

    Small correction, there is actually no proof that RSA reduces to factoring. It is true that if you can factor you can break RSA, but you may also be able to break RSA without factoring. []

The best defense against logic is ignorance.