7, Still My Fave: 17,425,170-Digit Prime Number Located

February 6, 2013


A new currently known largest prime number has been located, and the thing has over 17-million digits. That...is a big number. Not HUGE, but still pretty big. Definitely wouldn't fit in a breadbox. Well not unless you beat it with a meat tenderizer first.

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) project has scored its 14th consecutive victory, discovering the largest prime number so far.

The number, 2 to the power of 57,885,161 minus 1, is a digit that's 17,425,170 digits long. That's big enough that if you want to see the full text, you'll have to brace yourself for a 22.5MB download. [Note: links to actual text webpage of the entire number]

GIMPS, a cooperative project splitting the search across thousands of independent computers, announced the find yesterday after it had been confirmed by other checks. At present, there are 98,980 people and 574 teams involved in the GIMPS project; their 730,562 processors perform about 129 trillion calculations per second.

Ahahahahha, GIMPS -- that's a solid acronym. I love an organization that can have a funny name and still be cool with it. Unless they didn't know they had a funny name, in which case that just makes me kind of sad.

Thanks to FloorMatt, who scared the shit out of me when he jumped up and yelled right when I was about to wipe my shoes on him. And to Melissa and Jaucet, who warned me about the human-looking floormat but I took my chances anyways.

  • Mighty Molecule

    ....until the next prime number is counted to perhaps?

  • jimmy

    Why is the file so large?
    17,425,170 digits
    1 character is 1byte (ansi)
    17425170 / 1024 / 1024 = 16.6MB

  • Closet Nerd

    The answer to life is "42"
    .....just sayin

  • Kevin

    98,980 people? I bet that was money well spent. Guys, how's that cure for cancer coming? "Hold on a minute, we're in the middle of something..."

  • Idlethoughts

    If every time someone was about to make this same exact type of comment, they instead just donated a dollar to cancer research, it would more than make up for the money "lost" to funding other research.

    Or you could post stupid comments on the internet that bitch about the cure for cancer not being the top priority of the human race, your choice.

    (No really, look at his comment history, starving-africa comment not ten post ago.)

  • Guest

    They used crowd computing, software that anyone who wants to help can install in order to dedicate a portion of their CPU to the initiative. Similar to SETI@home.
    ( http://setiathome.berkeley.... )

  • Matthew Little

    They use prime numbers in all sorts of sciency stuff. I can't provide any examples because I'm not a scientomogist. But I'm pretty sure it's important.

    Also they have thousands of computers focused on examining proteins to fight cancer. So. There you go.

  • Prometheus

    I'm glad GW posted this; reminds me to reinstall prime95

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