
View Poll Results: What should be the official discovery date of M43?  
Dec. 15  28  52.83%  
Dec. 16  25  47.17%  
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll 

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20051221, 01:54  #1 
P90 years forever!
Aug 2002
Yeehaw, FL
2·5^{2}·163 Posts 
M43 discovery date
If the computer found M43 on Dec. 15th but did not contact the server and no human knew about the result until Dec. 16th then what is the discovery date for M43?

20051221, 01:58  #2 
Bemusing Prompter
"Danny"
Dec 2002
California
2×29×43 Posts 
I first saw it on December 15 on Pacific Time, but it was al;ready December 16 on GMT. GMT is the universal time, so I'd say December 16.

20051221, 02:39  #3 
P90 years forever!
Aug 2002
Yeehaw, FL
17726_{8} Posts 
The computer wrote the find to results.txt on Dec. 15 GMT if that affects your answer.

20051221, 02:53  #4  
Nov 2005
South Carolina
7×11 Posts 
Quote:
By this reasoning whihc I accept as valid Dec. 16th. 

20051221, 03:31  #5 
Dec 2003
2^{2}×41 Posts 
I vote for when the computer actually found the prime.
By way of precedence, Reisel found M18 on Sep 8, 1957 but did not "announce" until Nov 8, 1957. Sept 8, 1957 is the accecpted data of discovery. See http://primes.utm.edu/mersenne/LukeM...t/lit_027s.htm 
20051221, 04:14  #6 
May 2004
1C_{16} Posts 
Discovery
According to Wikipedia, discovery is an act of observation, and it must be done by humans. This means 12/16, but moreover it was already 12/16 GMT where it really matters. Also, 12/16 has already been announced on Mersenne.org.

20051221, 17:12  #7 
"Phil"
Sep 2002
Tracktown, U.S.A.
2140_{8} Posts 
For all we know, all of these primes may have been previously discovered by other computers in other locations in the universe. Had the disk failed prior to server notification, we most likely would still know nothing about the new prime. I say December 16th as the first knowledge of it by "earth civilization".

20051221, 20:23  #8  
∂^{2}ω=0
Sep 2002
República de California
5×2,351 Posts 
Quote:
In my view the relevant precedent here is the pair of primes discovered in 1961 by Hurwitz within seconds of each other. His computer printouts were stacked in the usual reverse order, so he noticed the printout about M(4423) being prime before that for M(4253), and it has since been generally accepted that this act of human observation (and actual awareness, i.e. the night janitor happening across the printout and having no idea what it meant would not qualify as such) constitutes discovery, and thus that M(4423) was discovered before M(4253), even though the computer clearly finished the computation on M(4253) first. Following this precedent, the discovery date of the current candidate is December 16th. But I realize that the Hurwitz instance could have also been decided the other way, especially if the computer printout clearly indicated the date and time of the results, in which the precedent would be the opposite. Perhaps a compromise is in order: for this and future discoveries, give two dates: 1) Date of computation, i.e. when did the computation complete and verifiably write the result to some medium that can be inspected? 2) Date of (human) discovery: when did a person first become aware of the result? 

20051221, 20:27  #9 
"Nancy"
Aug 2002
Alexandria
2,467 Posts 
So is the first person to be aware of the result the discoverer? What if the night janitor just happened to know what exponentiation and a prime is, so he'd understand the printed message "2^42531 is prime"?
Alex 
20051221, 20:47  #10  
Jun 2005
2×191 Posts 
Quote:
Drew Last fiddled with by drew on 20051221 at 20:48 

20051221, 23:52  #11 
I quite division it
"Chris"
Feb 2005
England
31·67 Posts 
It's quite mind blowing to think that our votes here can decide when a mathematical truth was 'known', and that this will be a fact for all eternity. Mindblowing, but I don't suppose it actually matters!
I am going to make some tshirts "Vote 16th December". 
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