Got 75 Spare PCs? Start Looking For 13-Million Digit Prime Numbers

Calculator.jpg I knew there was a reason I didn't become a mathematician! Researchers in the US have discovered a new prime number (that's a number that can only be divided by itself and one, in case you forgot). It has a cool 13-million digits in it, and required the processing power of 75 laptops running XP to work out.

The number is way too long to write out, but can be notated as 2 to the power of 43,112,609 minus 1. Two seperate networks of computers have verified the number.

Even stranger than the fact people spend their time looking for Prime numbers is the fact that the researchers stand to win a $US100,000 prize from the Electronic Frontier Foundation for discovering a prime number with more than 10 million digits. I mean, why not, right? 100K for getting 75 computers to do some long division for you?

Actually now I'm wishing I was a mathematician. Damn.


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