This Number Holds The World Record For Largest Prime

In January of 2016, a huge achievement for math and science was reached. Thanks to the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (known as Gimps for short), the largest prime number ever known to man has been found. The new record-breaking number is 2^74,207,281-1, which is more than 22 million digits long-five million longer than the previous record-holding prime number. If you printed the number out in a tiny font size, it would measure about 14 miles (22 km) long! The number is a Mersenne prime, meaning it is a bunch of twos multiplied by each other over and over again and the result is then subtracted by one. In the 20 years it has been prime hunting, the Gimps project has calculated the 15 largest Mersenne primes ever recorded.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. As of January 2016, the largest prime number ever found is 2^74,207,281-1. 00:11

  2. The largest prime number ever found is known as M74207281. 02:15

  3. Searching for prime numbers is a great way to stress test modern computer hardware to help develop cutting-edge computers. 11:34

Written by Curiosity Staff January 29, 2016

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