World’s Largest Prime Number Discovered & It Contains 17 Million Digits!

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Apparently the world’s largest prime number has been discovered and I wish I could tell you what it was, but it is 17 million digits long and would take up about a hell of a lot of space – like around 13,000 pages of a word document!

The size of the number, which is labeled 257,885,161 – 1 for short (because let’s face it, there is absolutely no one who can be bothered to type 17 million digits every time they want to bang on about it) totally dwarves the size of the previous largest prime number of 243,112,609 – 1, which was a measly 13 million digits long!

It was discovered by the computer of Dr. Curtis Cooper at the University of Central Missouri and is part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) which is a distributed computing project that tracks Mersenne primes.

Checking that Cooper’s newly discovered whoppingly mahusive prime was not actually divisible by any numbers took a whole 39 days of solid work by one of the university’s computers.
Apparently only 48 Mersenne primes have been discovered so far, but many mathematicians believe there could be an infinite number of them.

The fact that they could be an infinite number of these huge prime numbers and because they don’t appear to serve any particular useful purpose, many are left posing the question, what’s the point in looking for them then?

Source: New Scientist

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About Sheniz Raif

I am, and think I have always been, a writer. I’ve been scribbling stories since I was old enough to hold a pen and thoroughly enjoy using my words to make people laugh or inspire them. I love going to gigs and am a professional groupie for a couple of awesome bands. I am an avid fan of socializing, football, film, and refusing to grow up! I’m also a proud member of the BODO UK team!