The largest known prime number now has 12.9 million digits.
OTTAWA — Carleton University doctoral student Jeff Gilchrist has a thing for numbers.
Working with an international team, Mr. Gilchrist has helped to discover the largest known prime number, at a whopping 12.9 million digits.
The discovery qualifies his team for a $100,000 prize, awarded by the U.S.-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.
This is the first time number crunchers have been able to crack the 10 million digit threshold when identifying prime numbers.
In the mathematics field, “it's sort of like an Olympian breaking a world record,” said Mr. Gilchrist. “It's very exciting.”
To put the number's sheer size in perspective, Mr. Gilchrist said if you were to write every digit down, it would be enough to fill a 3,200-page book.
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Titanic Primes Raced to Win $100,000 Research Award
San Diego CA and Orlando FL, September 15, 2008 – Researchers have discovered the two largest known prime numbers, a whopping 12,978,189 and 11,185,272 digits long, as part of a 12 year old, world-wide volunteer computing project, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search ("GIMPS"). The primes can be written shorthand as 243,112,609-1 [Edit: Hmm. I must try to get a superscript modification] and 237,156,667-1. The larger number qualifies for a $100,000 research award, most of which GIMPS will donate to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and to charity.
Full article: http://mersenne.org/m45and46.htm