Huge new prime number discovered

Los Angeles, Sep 28 (BBC Online) – Mathematicians in California could be in line for a $100,000 prize (£54,000) for finding a new prime number which has 13 million digits.

Prime numbers can be divided only by themselves and one.

The prize was set up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to promote co-operative computing on the Internet.

Edson Smith, a mathemagician at the University of California Los Angeles installed software on to the department’s computers from the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (Gimps) to search for the new prime. Gimps is an ad-hoc network, like that PS3 Folding@home thing. Around 100,000 PCs worked together to perform 29 trillion calculations and locate a prime number that’s 12,978,189 digits long. I’d post the number but it would take you weeks to read it.

The team from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found the new number by linking 75 computers and harnessing their unused power.

This enabled them to perform the enormous number of calculations needed to find and verify a new prime.

Thousands of people around the world linked the powers of their personal computers in the search for a higher “Mersenne” prime number – named after 17th-Century French mathematician Marin Mersenne.

Mersenne primes are expressed as two to the power of P, minus one – with P being itself a prime number.

Edson Smith, the leader of the winning UCLA team, told the Associated Press news agency: “We’re delighted. Now we’re looking for the next one, despite the odds.”

Source : bdnews24 (2008)

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