Friday, 8 February 2013

"New Largest Prime Number Is 17 Million Digits Long"

From Time:

Curtis Cooper, a researcher at the University of Central Missouri, reportedly spent four years searching for the new prime number. And in late January, his quest was confirmed. Behold the new longest prime number in the world: 257,885,161 – 1.

The new discovery, at 17,425,170 digits, crushes the 2008 record number of 12,978,189 digits. Cooper is something of a legend when it comes to prime-number discovery: this is the third one found by him and his team.

The professor in charge was on Radio 4 this morning, the interviewer asked him what the practical application of the new prime number was and he chuckled and replied "None whatsoever. Maybe they'll find a use for it in a hundred years' time."

As I said last time they discovered the biggest prime number in September 2008:

If there is a pattern here, and in maths there usually is, it takes an average of 830 days to discover a new prime number, and the number of digits goes up by 48% each time, so the next prime number will have about 19 million digits and will be discovered on 5 January 2011.

So I was only wrong by two million digits and two years and a bit. Ah well.


Barnacle Bill said...

I'll get my daughters to check this they did maths under nuLabor.

As for your prediction Mark, I think you're an ideal candiadate for Boy George's position when it becomes vacant this year!

Mark Wadsworth said...

BB, in my defence, I wasn't gambling £100 billions of taxpayers' finest on the outcome. But I would be the best Chancellor ever.

Ian Hills said...

I hated maths as the teachers were sadists, and would rather force my head through a meat grinder than hear words like "prime number" ever again. It doesn't matter how big the damn things are anyway.

Mark Wadsworth said...

IH, yes, Mr Illingworth the maths teacher at my school was a complete shit and Mr Dorrian the English teachers was a jumped up twat. They still teach poetry at schools today, FFS.

But you get over it in the end and realise that maths and English are enjoyable things in themselves.

Bayard said...

"But I would be the best Chancellor ever."

and thanks to our wonderful system of "democracy", you don't even have to be elected to be Chancellor, although I think you'd have to give some seriious money to the Tory party first.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, I can't afford it.