Scientists have announced that the largest prime number has been discovered. With a length of 17.425.170 digits, the number also broke the record for a prime number of 2008 digits discovered in 12.978.189. The combination of human curiosity and computer technology brought a new scientific discovery. US mathematician Curtis Cooper found a new number that exceeds 17 digits in length using a huge computer network used to find prime numbers.
Cooper, an academic at the University of Central Missouri, calculated the record-breaking number using a computer network called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). The computer network has about 360 thousand processors and can perform 150 trillion calculations per second. Cooper stated that he has found three prime numbers so far using GIMPS.
"This figure is like climbing Mount Everest," said George Woltman, the originator of GIMPS, commenting on the subject to LiveScience. "These kinds of discoveries are loved because of the challenge to uncover something previously unknown," said computer engineer Woltman.
48TH RARE ISSUE
The number Cooper discovered was the 2th digit of the set of rare prime numbers known as Mersenne Primes, defined by the formula Mp=1p-48. First used by the French monk Marin Mersenne, this formula was named after the monk. Scientists believe the number of Mersenne Primes is much higher, although only 48 have been found to date.
The validity of the number Cooper calculated was confirmed by numerous computer calculations by many academics. Woltman said that 'the instinctive way to calculate prime numbers is to divide the potential prime number into odd numbers smaller than itself, but this takes a lot of time'.
“If you try something like this, it will take longer than the age of the universe,” Woltman said. Instead of the instinctive method, mathematicians use a smarter strategy, a method that processes more potential numbers with computers. Cooper won a $3 prize for his discovery.
Source : ntvmsnbc