Now if you think that an ordinary office computer isn’t that powerful then let this change your mind!
The 41st Mersenne Prime!
If you came here just to find out about this new Mersenne Prime number then here are the bare facts. The newly discovered Mersenne Prime number is 224,036,583-1, or 2 to the 24,036,583rd power minus 1.
It was discovered by Josh Findley, on May 15th 2004, using prime95 on his office computer. He used a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 Windows XP PC running for 14 days prove the number. Findley is an independent IT consultant living in Issaquah, Washington. He joined GIMPS in June 1999.
The new prime was independently verified by Tony Reix of Grenoble, France using half of a Bull NovaScale 5000 HPC running Linux on 16 Itanium II 1.3 GHz CPUs for five days using the Glucas program by Guillermo Ballester Valor of Granada, Spain, and by Jeff Gilchrist of Elytra Enterprises Inc. in Ottawa, Canada using eleven days of time on a HP rx5670 quad Itanium II 1.5 GHz CPU server at SHARCNET. The discovery is the seventh record prime found by the GIMPS project. In recognition of every GIMPS contributor’s effort, credit for this new discovery will go to “Findley, Woltman, Kurowski, et al”.
Findley, a consultant to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in La Jolla, California, described the find. “I’m still surprised at the discovery. Even after five years running GIMPS on my computers, I didn’t expect to find a new Mersenne prime! I joined GIMPS because it seemed the logical choice for using my spare CPU cycles.”
Why, you may ask, do you have to verify the Mersenne prime using a different client? There is no difference in the math between the clients. Both implement a Lucas-Lehmer primality test using discrete weighted transforms. Prime95 was written in x86 assembly code. Glucas is written in C code. Since the clients were written by different people and run on different hardware, that virtually eliminates a programming bug or hardware flaw as a cause for a false M40 report.
The new prime was unofficially double-checked by Mike and Alf Refsum (Xyzzy and Prime Monster) on a 3.2 GHz P4 machine, but since it was run using the prime95 client this run does not count as an official verification run.
Some trivia about the 41st Mersenne Prime!
The new Mersenne, 224,036,583-1 has 7,235,733 decimal digits, and is currently the largest known prime number.
Other places to read about the new Mersenne