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02/07/2013

Largest known prime number, by the numbers

Two multiplied by itself 57,885,161 times less one: the largest known prime number, discovered on January 25 by Dr. Curtis Cooper, a professor at the University of Central Missouri

17,425,170: number of digits the in the new prime number, which is also a "Mersenne prime," a very rare type of number that follows the formula 2 to the power of n-1, where n is also a prime.

48: number of Mersenne primes ever found, including this one

150 trillion: number of calculations per second crunched by the 360,000 CPUs involved in finding the number

Three: number of times Dr. Cooper has found a record-breaking prime number, in 2005, 2006, and this year

3,000: dollar amount of the discovery award offered by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) for finding the prime number.

17: age of GIMPS, the "the longest continuously-running global grassroots supercomputing project in Internet history," a project that consists of volunteers running a free program that searches for new prime numbers and Marsenne primes.

150,000: dollar amount of the award offered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for finding an 100-million digit prime number

Kate Allen is the Toronto Star’s global science and technology reporter. Follow her on Twitter @katecallen

 

 

 

 

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