Largest known Prime Number discovered by GIMPS Project

GIMPS said that the discovery was made via a computer volunteered to the project by Jonathan Pace.

Raleigh, US, Jan 5: The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) announced that it has discovered the largest known prime number, 277,232,917-1, having 23,249,425 digits.

The new prime number, also known as M77232917, is calculated by multiplying together 77,232,917 twos, and then subtracting one. It is nearly one million digits larger than the previous record prime number, in a special class of extremely rare prime numbers known as Mersenne primes, announced GIMPS in a press release.

GIMPS said that the discovery was made via a computer volunteered to the project by Jonathan Pace.

It is only the 50th known Mersenne prime ever discovered, each increasingly difficult to find. Mersenne primes were named for the French monk Marin Mersenne, who studied these numbers more than 350 years ago. GIMPS, founded in 1996, has discovered the last 16 Mersenne primes.

Volunteers download a free program to search for these primes, with a cash award offered to anyone lucky enough to find a new prime. Prof. Chris Caldwell maintains an authoritative web site on the largest known primes, and has an excellent history of Mersenne primes.

The primality proof took six days of non-stop computing on a PC with an Intel i5-6600 CPU. To prove there were no errors in the prime discovery process, the new prime was independently verified using four different programs on four different hardware configurations.

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