GIMPS project discovers largest known prime number

On Jan. 25, at 23:30:26 UTC, the largest known prime number, 2^57,885,161-1, was discovered on Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) volunteer Curtis Cooper's computer (Cooper is a professor at the University of Central Missouri). The new prime number, 2 multiplied by itself 57,885,161 times, less one, has 17,425,170 digits. With 360,000 CPUs peaking at 150 trillion calculations per second, the GIMPS project, now in its 17th year, is the longest continuously-running global "grassroots supercomputing"[1] project in Internet history.

Dr. Cooper is a professor at the University of Central Missouri. This is the third record prime for Dr. Cooper and his University. Their first record prime was discovered in 2005, eclipsed by their second record in 2006. Computers at UCLA broke that record in 2008 with a 12,978,189 digit prime number. UCLA held the record until University of Central Missouri reclaimed the world record with this discovery.

The new primality proof took 39 days of non-stop computing on one of the university's PCs. Dr. Cooper and the University of Central Missouri are the largest individual contributors to the project. The discovery is eligible for a $3,000 GIMPS research discovery award.

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[1]Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science), May 6, 2005 p 810.