Sunday 1 February 2004 at 1:57 pm | In Articles | Post Comment

The Great International Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) wants you to help in their search for Mersenne primes. These are prime numbers of the form 2^p-1 (where p is itself a prime) and they can be found by anyone! The largest 2^{20,966,011}-1 was found last November by a student. It has 6,320,430 decimal digits.

You could win fame and fortune so go along to where it says:

You could discover one of the most coveted finds in all of Mathematics – a new Mersenne prime number. We’ve found six already. Join in on this fun, yet serious research project. All you need is a personal computer, patience, and a lot of luck.

In addition to the joy of making a mathematical discovery, you might win some cash. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is offering a $100,000 award to the first person or group to discover a ten million digit prime number! See how GIMPS will distribute this award if we are lucky enough to find a ten million digit prime.

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