Recently discovered 17 million-digit number is the world's largest prime

By on February 6, 2013, 8:30 AM

A professor at the University of Central Missouri has discovered the world’s largest Mersenne prime number, shattering the previous record prime number according to officials at mersenne.org.

It’s only the 48th Mersenne prime to have ever been discovered and only the 14th discovered through the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). The last discovery using the program came in April 2009.

As Ars Technica explains, prime numbers are few and far between. Of all the numbers between 0 and 225,964,951-1, only 1,622,441 are prime and just 42 are classified as Mersenne primes. This new rarity, named after French monk Marin Mersenne who studied the numbers more than 350 years ago, is more than 17 million digits long. If written out in book form, the number would consume 28 novel-length books.

GIMPS said it took the computer that Dr. Curtis Cooper was using 39 days to verify the proof. It was also verified on a number of different computers including a 3.6 day stint on a system running CUDALucas on an Nvidia GPU, 4.5 days of crunching on an Intel i7 CPU and six days on a 32-core server running MLucas software.

This is the third record prime that Dr. Cooper and the University of Central Missouri have found. The first occurred in 2005 and again in 2006. Two years later, computers at UCLA found the most recent record prime. For his efforts, Dr. Cooper will receive a grant for $3,000.




User Comments: 17

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cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm sure the 17 milliion-digit is the largest known number. There are probably more for people to waste their time finding.

1 person liked this | Nima304 said:

I'm sure the 17 milliion-digit is the largest known number. There are probably more for people to waste their time finding.

It's definitely not the largest known number, if you wanted to find that you could paste an infinite amount of 9s. Although this isn't really useful in any way (as far as I know), it's still pretty cool. I actually wanted to set up a program that found prime numbers using GPUs, but never got around to it.

Anyone else think that this guy should have gotten a grant of more than $3,000? It seems like a trivial amount for what is obviously a historic moment.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Money for pointless number-crunching... give me a mil, I will get you one 10-times longer, so you can put it in your pipe and smoke, you, time waster, you...

2 people like this | Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I giggled, the Doctors name was Dr Cooper xD

1 person liked this | captainawesome captainawesome said:

Uses??

4 people like this | Kezhen Gao said:

I giggled, the Doctors name was Dr Cooper xD

I expected nothing less of Dr. Cooper! ;-)

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

I'm sure the 17 milliion-digit is the largest known number. There are probably more for people to waste their time finding.

I *think* you meant " the 17 million digit is NOT the largest".

If that's what you meant, constants like Planck time and temperature definitely prove your hypothesis. :-)

Guest said:

Of all the numbers between 0 and 2^25,964,951-1 there are 1,622,441 that are prime, but only 42 are Mersenne primes

from Ars.

You're missing something there.

misor misor said:

Omg, I so fail at math.

it was postulated that the 43rd mersenne prime will unlock the gateway to cybertron.

I'd rather painfully watch justin bieber concert than read this wiki article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mersenne_prime

Guest said:

Finding the biggest prime number would break all current cryptographic systems based on random prime numbers

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Omg, I so fail at math.

it was postulated that the 43rd mersenne prime will unlock the gateway to cybertron.

I'd rather painfully watch justin bieber concert than read this wiki article:

Are you sh**tin' me? I am so looking forward to Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift releasing a double CD of nothing but duets.......!!

That would be unconventional, to say the least! They could trash each other, and their exes while looking longingly into each others eyes. And who better to put on the cover but Kanye West, in a referee's uniform......?

So, the album could be named "Merced", which sounds fairly close to, "mersenne", while meaning "mercy", in Spanish....:p

LOL, God I crack myself up....

EDIT: To add a further touch of whimsy & irony, I'd order it through, "Amazon Prime"..

Guest said:

Actually, there are uses for large prime numbers. Cryptography is a big one. Just because you don't personally use it does not mean it is useless.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

EDIT: To add a further touch of whimsy & irony, I'd order it through, "Amazon Prime"..

Added the relevant link

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

Wow. That's a big number. Lol I was just thinking what you would use that big of a number for, and you guys gracefully answered my question. hehe nice.

mrcavooter mrcavooter said:

EDIT: To add a further touch of whimsy & irony, I'd order it through, "Amazon Prime"..

Added the relevant link

You made my night!

Guest said:

Prime numbers are useful for encryption (and possibly encoding). The larget the prime the better so I would say this is very important.

Alas, those of us who don't wark in maths do't have much use for it.

cmbjive said:

Only $3,000? I guess there's no profit in playing the numbers. :P

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