December 5, 2001
The largest prime number yet discovered has just been revealed to the world.
The new number, expressed as 213,466,917-1, contains 4,053,946 digits and would take the best part of three weeks to write out longhand.
The prime number was discovered by Michael Cameron, a 20-year-old Canadian participant in a mass computer project known as the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (Gimps).
Mersenne primes are important for the theory… read more