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Largest prime number discovered – with more than 23m digits

posted onJanuary 4, 2018
by l33tdawg

At more than 23m digits long, the number is something of a beast. But for mathematicians, the latest discovery from a global gang of enthusiasts is a thing of beauty: the largest prime number ever found.

Known simply as M77232917, the figure is arrived at by calculating two to the power of 77,232,917 and subtracting one, leaving a gargantuan string of 23,249,425 digits. The result is nearly one million digits longer than the previous record holder discovered in January 2016.

The number belongs to a rare group of so-called Mersenne prime numbers, named after the 17th century French monk Marin Mersenne. Like any prime number, a Mersenne prime is divisible only by itself and one, but is derived by multiplying twos together over and over before taking away one. The previous record-holding number was the 49th Mersenne prime ever found, making the new one the 50th.

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