Feeds

45th Mersenne prime revealed

GIMPS grabs $100,000 for discovery

High performance access to file storage

Number-porn lovers rejoice! The most ridiculously long prime number ever discovered has been verified and revealed in all its 12-million-digit glory.

The enormous integer was fittingly discovered within the hallowed halls of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) mathematics department as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) distributed computing network. Thousands of computers across the world were donating spare processing power to discover the new king of primes, but there could be only one.

This prime among Mersenne Primes is now a certified record-smasher, and it will net GIMPS a $100,000 award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for finding a prime number over 10 million digits.

Mersenne primes are named after the 17th-century French digit fiddler and monk-about-the-monastery, Marin Mersenne. A Mersenne number is a number that is one less than the power of two, or Mn = 2n − 1. The first few are 1, 3, 7, 15, 31, 63, and so forth (but add up quickly, as numbers tend to do). Mersenne primes are Mersenne numbers that are also prime numbers, meaning they are divisible only by 1 and itself.

Marin Mersenne

Back in August 2008, we reported that the GIMPS claimed the discovery of the 45th known Mersenne prime. But the number first had to undergo a thorough confirmation process before it would be disclosed and the EFF prize money spigot was turned loose. And we shall tease you no longer:

The winning number in shorthand is 243,112,609 − 1. Written out, it spans over 12 million decimal digits (nearly 13 million). Down one notch is the 44th Mersenne prime (232,582,657 − 1) at a very respectable 9,808,358 digits long.

With the latest discovery, GIMPS is now responsible for 11 record breaking prime numbers, having previously found the 35th through 44th largest known.

The GIMPS PrimeNet network that made the discovery was installed and maintained by UCLA math department computing manager, Edson Smith. GIMPS said it would donate $25,000 of the prize money to charity and award $50,000 to the UCLA math department.

“We’re grateful to the UCLA Mathematics Department for providing its computational resources to the project,” said GIMPS founder George Woltman in a statement.

The EFF will award the $100,000 prize, along with a Cooperative Computing Award on October 22 in San Francisco in conjunction with the Web 2.0 summit there. As for the next prime number record waiting to be crunched, the EFF will award $150,000 to the first person or group who discovers a prime with at least 100 million digits and $250,000 for a prime with at least a billion digits.

You can download the GIMPS distributed computing software and join the hunt here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.