EDGE 2015 is starting in

Find out more EDGE 2015
Menu
Largest known prime number - 17m digits long - discovered

Largest known prime number - 17m digits long - discovered

Typed out in Times Roman 12 point font, number would stretch more than 30 miles or fill more than six Bibles

A mathematician at the University of Central Missouri has discovered what is now the largest known prime number -- one with more than 17 million digits.

Dr. Curtis Cooper, who has made two other prime number discoveries, has found the 48th known Mersenne prime -

2

57,885,161

-

1

. The number is 17,425,170 digits long.

Cooper discovered the number on January 25, according to the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), a 16-year-old project that uses a grid of computers provided by volunteers to find large prime numbers.

If the number was typed out in standard Times Roman 12 point font, it would span more than 30 miles. It also would fill more than six Bibles.

A prime number is a whole number that can be divided only by one and itself. Mersenne prime numbers are a class of primes named after Marin Mersenne, a 17th century French monk who studied the rare numbers more than 350 years ago. Mersenne primes are extremely rare. With this discovery, only 48 are known.

Each Mersenne prime is increasingly difficult to find.

GIMPS noted that the grid that Cooper used for the discovery had 360,000 CPUs peaking at 150 trillion calculations per second.

According to GIMPS, the first time Cooper discovered a record-breaking prime number was 2005. His second came quickly after in 2006.

However, mathematicians at UCLA broke Cooper's record in 2008. That record Mersenne prime number held until Cooper and the University of Central Missouri reclaimed it with this latest discovery.

To verify the new Mersenne prime number, it was independently tested using different programs running on different hardware, GIMPS noted. One verification test, which lasted 3.6 days, used a Nvidia GPU, while another used an Intel Core i7 CPU and lasted four and a half days.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.

EDGE 2015:: For all the latest on EDGE 2015 including the keynote speakers visit the EDGE mini-site now

Follow Us

Join the ARN newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Emerging Technologieshardware systems

Upcoming

Slideshows

In Pictures: 7 things we hate about Twitter

In Pictures: 7 things we hate about Twitter

You probably either love Twitter for its quirkiness and brevity or see it as a pointless waste of time. After nearly a decade on the social scene, Twitter still needs to improve its user experience and fill in notable gaps in the service. These seven problems are long overdue for a fix.

In Pictures: 7 things we hate about Twitter
IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 - Sponsor Briefing

IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 - Sponsor Briefing

With EDGE 2015 rapidly approaching, ARN and Reseller News NZ held a Sponsors Briefing where ARN publisher and president, Susan Searle, and Events Manager, Alexandra West, ran through the considerable logistics in detail. Attendees then enjoyed some splendid canapes and drinks. EDGE is designed to bring the A/NZ channel together in a collaborative and educational environment. Themed around channel channel leadership, EDGE will be held at the Sheraton Mirage, Port Douglas, July 20-23. Photos by MIKE GEE.

IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 - Sponsor Briefing
In Pictures: Robots that cook, clean, sing and dance

In Pictures: Robots that cook, clean, sing and dance

Cooking, learning language and doing the laundry are a few of the human skills demonstrated by.real humanoid bots featured in the National Geographic movie Robots.

In Pictures: Robots that cook, clean, sing and dance

iasset.com is a channel management ecosystem that automates all major aspects of the entire sales, marketing and service process, including data tracking, integrated learning, knowledge management and product lifecycle management.

Show Comments