One of the latest news for Mathematics enthusiasts is the discovery of the Largest prime number that has more 23 M digits. The figure is arrived at by calculating two to the power of 77,232,917 and subtracting one, leaving a gargantuan string of 23,249,425 digits.
This number belongs to a rare group– Mersenne prime numbers, named after the 17th-century French monk Marin Mersenne. a Mersenne prime just like any prime number is divisible only by itself and one but is derived by multiplying twos together over and over before taking away one. The previous record-holding number was the 49th Mersenne prime ever found, making the new one the 50th. The Mersenne prime nearly one million digits longer than the previous record holder discovered in January 2016.
“I’m very surprised it was found this quickly; we expected it to take longer,” said Chris Caldwell, a professor of mathematics who runs a website on the largest prime numbers at the University of Tennessee at Martin. “It’s like finding dead cats on the road. You don’t expect to find two so close to one another.”
The new prime number was originally found on Boxing Day by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (Gimps) collaboration which harnesses the number-crunching power of volunteers’ computers all over the world. In the days after, four more computers sporting different hardware and software were set the task of verifying the discovery. Those computers confirmed the result, taking between 34 and 82 hours each.
Finding the Largest prime number– took 6 full days of non-stop computing on a PC owned by Jonathan Pace, a 51-year old electrical engineer from Germantown, Tennessee. It is the first prime that Pace’s computer has churned out in 14 years on the Gimps project. He is now eligible for a $3,000 award.
According to the report– when asked about mathematicians’ fascination with such huge numbers, Caldwell said: “They are exciting to those of us who are interested in them. It’s like asking why do you climb a mountain.” “That’s what we’re talking about here: it’s a museum piece as opposed to something that industry would use,” he said.
Curtis Cooper, a professor of mathematics at the University of Central Missouri, found the previous record-holding Mersenne prime in 2016, the fourth prime he has helped to find through the Gimps project in 20 years. He said he was a little sad at having lost the record so soon, but “I’m really happy for the whole organization and the guy who found it. He’d been searching for 14 years, so he’s worked as hard as I have,” he added.
“Discovering new primes, which are things you can touch, it’s the realization of my love for mathematics. That’s the appeal for me,” he said.
Source- The Guardian