Friday, July 16, 2010

Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS)

For anyone who doesn't already know of it, the GIMPS project links up computers worldwide to search for the next Mersenne Prime number (of the form 2^n - 1) --- anyone with a personal computer can participate, and even win cash rewards (and all the work is done on your computer in the background, while you wile away the hours surfing the Web and eating pizza!).

If interested check it out here:

Some history/background on Mersenne primes:

or the Wikipedia account:

...and more updated info on primes here:

Finally, the largest current Mersenne prime (at the moment):  243112609 -1


Garret said...

This may be too complicated but I was wondering if you knew how the computer program worked.

If you don't know that is alright


"Shecky Riemann" said...

Not sure if you're asking how the collaborative computer link-ups work (there is a lot of "collaborative computing" these days), or more specifically how the Mersenne numbers are tested for primeness... but in either event it's above my paygrade ;-) (no, I don't know the answer; if someone else can explain the workings, please feel free to comment here).