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Old 2018-06-22, 13:32   #14
kriesel's Avatar
Mar 2017
US midwest

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Default Found a new prime? Really? What next?

What's the process if the lucky discoverer of a prime?

My take on an appropriate protocol:

Step one should be to check configuration and worker logs carefully. For gpu based computation, there are known issues that will generate bad interim residues and a final indication of a prime, for an exponent that does not yield an actual prime, just as a side effect of the computation gone wrong. Such errors need to be checked for and either the cause addressed or ruled out. For cpu-based computation, look in the mersenne computation logs for any indications of past computing error rate. Check system logs for any signs of system stability issues in any case. The overall rate of error in LL test is around 1.6% for cpus, 2% for gpus. Individual hardware units may have an error rate much higher, 10, 20, 50, even 100%. Such unreliable hardware should be identified and repaired or deactivated. When possible, run software for PRP with Gerbicz check instead, which has superior error detection and handling.

If running prime95 or mprime and operating through PrimeNet, various people should receive notification through the PrimeNet server, automatically. But sometimes that automatic email doesn't work. (It's not like there's frequent volume.) Gpu run results can be manually submitted and should also generate such notification.

Promptly private message with the same send to the extent possible, prime95, ewmayer, skurowski, m29 (luke welsh), madpoo and maybe a couple other discoverers of previous Mersenne primes, details of exponent, what it was run on, when the run completed. Copy them a log excerpt, answer questions. Promptly, because it establishes time frame, and there could be money involved, depending on who found it first.
Either PrimeNet notification or private messaging set in motion the process of redundant independent verification runs. Multiple people run verification runs using different software and hardware to reduce the chance of a false positive slipping through even temporarily (which also tests that the various software can find the new prime).

Other than that private message, don't announce there's a discovery until it is verified.
There's a process for putting a press release together. Notifying the Mersenne Research Inc. board members and officers sets verification and disclosure into motion.

Preserve all related files. The last save file may in particular be requested for a rerun by someone else. Make an offline, preferably offsite backup.

Initiate your own double-check, different hardware and software, perhaps before notifying anyone.

Follow the terms and conditions of use.
Note especially the Discovery Non-Disclosure Period described there.

Get guidance from the people who have dealt with it before.

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