**Largest known prime number found **
The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, a cooperative computing project, helps find a prime that has nearly 13 million digits.
Here’s a number to savor: 243,112,609-1.
Its size is mind-boggling. With nearly 13 million digits, it makes the number of atoms in the known universe seem negligible, a mere 80 digits.
And its form is tidy and lovely: 2n-1.
But its true beauty is far grander: It is a prime number. Indeed, it is the largest prime number ever found.
The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or GIMPS, a computing project that uses volunteers’ computers to hunt for primes, found the prime and just confirmed the discovery. It can now claim a $100,000 prize from the Electronic Frontier Foundation for being the first to find a prime number that has more than 10 million digits.
And here it is (or some anyway):
They omitted millions of digits because (they claim) the number printed in 12 pt type is 30 miles long.
Here’s to pure math, may it never be of use to anyone!