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Biggest Prime Number found

The largest known prime number, newly discovered, has 22,338,618 digits. almost five million digits longer than the previous record-holder. The definition of a prime number is a number not divisible by any positive integer except 1 and itself.

On 7 January 2015, in a computer laboratory at a satellite campus of the University of Central Missouri, USA, a computer multiplied 74,207,281 twos together and subtracted 1. It then checked that this number was not divisible by any positive integer except 1 and itself.
 
This immense number can only be practically written down in mathematical notation using exponents: 274,207,281 − 1. It has 22,338,618 digits.

The previous largest was 257,885,161 − 1, which has a mere 17 million or so digits.

Copying the number into a Word document filled 13 000 pages.

This is the 15th prime number found by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or Gimps, for short, a volunteer project that has been running for 20 years. “I’ve always been interested in prime numbers,” said George Woltman, who founded Gimps after he had retired. “I had a lot of time on my hands,” he said.

The most notable practical use of prime numbers is in cryptography.

Source: www.mersenne.org

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