It was just a matter of time...
December 10, 2003 11:54 PM   Subscribe

26 year old student finds largest known prime number. The number is 6,320,430 digits long and would need 1,400 to 1,500 pages to write out. It is more than 2 million digits larger than the previous largest known prime number. Why? What use is it? How can knowing the next highest prime number be of any benefit?

One word: Cryptography.
Prime numbers are essential in producing keys for cryptography.
posted by DailyBread (14 comments total)

 
While large primes are indeed used in crypto, those aren't quit this big. This discovery mainly has curiosity value (not that there's anything wrong with that).
posted by fvw at 12:00 AM on December 11, 2003


yeah what fvw said... it's all about bragging rights and is rather worthless. not to mention this is old news, but hey... whatever
posted by banished at 12:04 AM on December 11, 2003


Double post. The earlier one has links to goatse in the comments, so I vote to keep this one.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 12:05 AM on December 11, 2003


Anyways, if everyone used the largest prime for their encryption needs, then it would be pretty shitty encryption.

The NSA, CIA, and various telephone companies employ whole teams of people to come up with 'secret primes,' under lock and key, available only to those that know about them.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:41 AM on December 11, 2003


"it's all about bragging rights and is rather worthless."

Hey Pal My Prime Number Is Bigger Then Yours...

OHHH YEAHHHH BABY, WHOOOOOOOOOOO

Yep I Love That Sweet Poontang Pi ;)

(If Math Geeks Acted Like Circa 1980's Films Frat Boys)
posted by Dreamghost at 1:05 AM on December 11, 2003


(If Math Geeks Acted Like Circa 1980's Films Frat Boys)

favorite math pickup lines:
"wanna get drunk and multiply?"
"i'd love to see the sum of your parts."
posted by kaibutsu at 1:26 AM on December 11, 2003


Metafilter: Like being back at school.
posted by nthdegx at 4:44 AM on December 11, 2003


So he must have sat and watched that bear forever.. wow.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:15 AM on December 11, 2003


hehehe. great link Space Coyote.
posted by dabitch at 6:00 AM on December 11, 2003


Is TubGirl the Japanese Metamucil ad?

Has Mr Shafer been contacted by the SETI people?


SUN
posted by RubberHen at 6:29 AM on December 11, 2003


This is the same kid that has a hobby of searching for palindromic prime numbers. I think the guy's gotta get a girlfriend and get laid.

Now, if he created a program to figure out celebrity's home phone numbers, THAT would be worthwhile!
posted by fenriq at 8:11 AM on December 11, 2003


Hey, now. Some of have girlfriends, get laid, and still do inexplicably dorky stuff like that.

/needless defensiveness
posted by cortex at 3:10 PM on December 11, 2003


The earlier one has links to goatse in the comments, so I vote to keep this one.

Well here's the goatse link again (courtesy homunculus' post). Can we delete this post now?
posted by mikhail at 6:37 PM on December 11, 2003


I let the bear shit for 16 hours and got about 44,000 prime numbers. Here are my stats:

Prime now:5309071
Prime count:43,908
Prime density:8.3%
Uptime: 16:12

Extra credit: calculate how long the bear would have to shit to get to the largest known prime number.
posted by dgaicun at 10:49 PM on December 11, 2003


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