Dec 07, 2016 | Updated: 09:37 AM EST

New Largest Prime Number Discovered

Jan 20, 2016 07:43 AM EST

The largest prime number is now determined. A computer in Missouri discovered the largest prime number yet, and it is 22 million digits long.

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) project, headed by Dr. Curtis Cooper of the University of Central Missouri, had discovered the largest prime number with 22,338,618 digits. The last number is a "1" and is nearly five million digits longer than the previous recorded largest prime number. There are several prime numbers between this new record prime and the old record prime.

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However, determining them will take a lot of work and a lot of time. Dr. Cooper calculated that the in-between prime numbers will take 31 days of continuous computing on a PC to identify them.

These identified prime numbers shall be cross-referenced by multiple computers, all of which are more powerful than the determining computer, to verify them. This newest prime number is Dr. Coopers' fourth record prime, and he discovered it back in 2013.

The latest known largest prime number is 274,207,281- 1. The previous record holder only has 17 million digits. Dr. Cooper received $3,000 prize from GIMPS for each discovery. GIMPS, in an unrelated news, is able to discover a bug in Intel's new Skylake processor, which makes computers crash when doing heavy workload.

Prime numbers are numbers that are divisible only by themselves and the number "1". Examples of prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 and 13.

The quest for the highest known prime number has been long a conquest of several mathematicians. The search for the highest known prime number is never about getting practical use out of it, but instead, only to test of the computational power of computers.

The next major goal for prime number chasers is finding the first 100-million-digit prime number. Whoever discovers this number will be awarded with $150,000 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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