Tuesday, January 09, 2018

50th Known Mersenne Prime Found!

January 3, 2018 -- Persistence pays off.  Jonathan Pace, a GIMPS volunteer for over 14 years, discovered the 50th known Mersenne prime, 277,232,917-1 on December 26, 2017.  The prime number is calculated by multiplying together 77,232,917 twos, and then subtracting one.  It weighs in at 23,249,425 digits, becoming the largest prime number known to mankind.  It bests the previous record prime, also discovered by GIMPS, by 910,807 digits.

Just how big is a 23,249,425 digit number?  It's huge!!  Big enough to fill an entire shelf of books totalling 9,000 pages!  If every second you were to write five digits to an inch then 54 days later you'd have a number stretching over 73 miles (118 km) -- almost 3 miles (5 km) longer than the previous record prime.

-- Statement by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) announcing M77232917, 3 January 2018

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