UCLA Mathematicians May Win Prize for Finding 13 Million-Digit Prime Number
UCLA Mathematicians have discovered a 13 million-digit prime number, a feat which may entitle them to a $100,000 prize, the Associated Press reported via the Chicago Tribune.
The group found the number last month on a network of 75 computers running Windows XP. Another computer Usystem running a different algorithm was used to verify the number, which is the 46th known Mersenne prime.
The number is the 8th Mersenne prime found at UCLA.
"We're delighted," said UCLA's Edson Smith, the team leader. "Now we're looking for the next one, despite the odds."
A prime number is one that is only divisible by itself and the number one.
Mersenne primes, named for creator and 17th century French mathematician Marin Mersenne, are expressed as 2P-1, or two to the power of "P'' minus one, the article said, where P is itself a prime number. For the new prime, P is 43,112,609.
The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or GIMPS, has thousands of participants worldwide. The system involves the harnessing of underused computing power to make calculations that would find and verify Mersenne primes.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is offering the $100,000 prize for finding the first Mersenne prime with more than 10 million digits. The prize was set up in order to promote cooperative computing using the Internet.
It could be awarded when the number is published, which will likely be sometime next year.