January 05, 2006
Come and see the world's biggest prime number!

I love math stories.

Researchers at a Missouri university have identified the largest known prime number, officials said Tuesday.

The team at Central Missouri State University, led by associate dean Steven Boone and mathematics professor Curtis Cooper, found it in mid-December after programming 700 computers years ago.

A prime number is a positive number divisible by only itself and 1 -- 2, 3, 5, 7 and so on.

The number that the team found is 9.1 million digits long. It is a Mersenne prime known as M30402457 -- that's 2 to the 30,402,457th power minus 1.

Mersenne primes are a special category expressed as 2 to the "p" power minus 1, in which "p" also is a prime number.

"We're super excited," said Boone, a chemistry professor. "We've been looking for such a number for a long time."

The discovery is affiliated with the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, a global contest using volunteers who run software that searches for the largest Mersenne prime.

I thought this was the previous champion, but there were two others found since then. M30402457 is the 43rd known Mersenne prime, and the ninth one discovered by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, aka GIMPS. You too can join with GIMPS, and maybe take home a share of a $100K prize that will be awarded when the first Mersenne prime with 10 million digits is found.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 05, 2006 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack

They all laughed when I announced that I had found the biggest prime number ever. In retrospect, perhaps 45 isn't all that big, and may not be, technically speaking, prime.

Posted by: alkali on January 5, 2006 4:46 PM

Maybe you'd be kind enough to let us see that number?

Posted by: Charles Hixon on January 5, 2006 7:15 PM

please could you send me the worlds biggest prime number and the mathematic algorithm to calculate prime numbers. Is there a formula to create prime numbers yet?if there is pls could you send it to me.


Posted by: red on February 13, 2006 10:36 AM