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day permlink Wednesday, 3 December 2003

permlink Yay, distributed computing

Yay, distributed computing: Largest prime number ever is found [New Scientist]
The new number is 6,320,430 digits long. It took just over two years to find using a distributed network of more than 200,000 computers.

Mersenne primes are an especially rare type of prime that take the form 2p-1, where p is also a prime number. The new number can be represented as 220,996,011-1. It is only the 40th Mersenne prime to have ever been found.

"There are more primes out there," adds George Woltman, who started the GIMPS project in 1996. "And anyone with an internet-connected computer can participate."
I've been doing the thing on and off for years now... who knows, maybe I'll switch to Mersenne primes.

Also, there will soon be a poster you can buy with the new largest known prime on it. Currently they sell a 4-million-digit prime printed on a 29"x40" sheet in a 1.37 point font. Cool. permlink  

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