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Old 2005-09-15, 20:06   #1
ekugimps
 
Sep 2005

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Default Mersenne.org Site

Hi, George.

I noticed there is a link to a new Wiki on the Mersenne.org website. Looks good. Have you considered deploying a content management system such as Plone or PostNuke for Mersenne.org?

Also, I have a question about GIMPS governance. Let's face it, none of us are getting any younger, so I'm going to ask the unthinkable questions. What happens to the project when you die? What happens if you become seriously ill? Who's responsible?

Not trying to be morbid or crude, just thinking ahead here. Anyone have any thoughts to add?

Tom
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Old 2005-09-15, 21:08   #2
Xyzzy
 
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I'm not speaking for George here:

I plan to live forever... So far so good!

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Old 2005-09-21, 00:31   #3
Prime95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekugimps
What happens to the project when you die? What happens if you become seriously ill? Who's responsible?
If I die, GIMPS will probably fade away. Scott could make
new Mersenne results available to an ambitious volunteer
to maintain the databases. That would keep it going for
quite a while. Even though the source code is available, it would be hard for someone to take over the assembly language code for future upgrades.

After GIMPS fades away, in several years computers will be faster and someone will think it is relatively "easy" to find the next Mersenne prime. He'll write a program and son-of-GIMPS will be born.
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Old 2005-09-21, 22:04   #4
Peter Nelson
 
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Unless of course someone can produce a proof that there are a FINITE number of mersenne primes.

(many think there are infinite mersenne primes, but there exists no proof).

If we found all the ones that exist, that would bring a conclusion to the project hopefully before any of us die.

Of course such is unlikely so is prudent to have a plan to continue.
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Old 2005-09-22, 21:24   #5
ekugimps
 
Sep 2005

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Default GIMPS Foundation?

You know, when Wikipedia began it never imagined the explosive force that it would become on the Internet. So powerful, in fact, they decided to form the Wikimedia Foundation. http://www.wikimediafoundation.org/ The foundations' elected board of directors manages donations and acts as a steering committee for various other projects that spawned from the original Wikipedia.

Should GIMPS also take a similar path?

Wikipedia has expanded its offerings to include many others services to Internet users. Theoretically, GIMPS is a supercomputer tasked to search for very large prime numbers. Peter Nelson pointed out the possibility of a mathematical breakthrough which could invalidate the purpose of GIMPS. So why couldn't new software be written to perform other mathematically worthy tasks? We already have a vast pool of resources through the GIMPS community. So why not continue to tap into that resource for other mathematically worthy pursuits? But regardless of whether GIMPS becomes irrelevant, I would hate to see this amazing distributed computing effort dismantled because of poor planning.

George, if you are following this post, what are your thoughts on organizing GIMPS as a non-profit foundation? I'd also like to hear thoughts from other members of the GIMPS community. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. I'd like to hear from all of you. Am I a nut case?

Tom
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Old 2005-09-23, 01:17   #6
jinydu
 
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Hmm... Why not just appoint a successor to keep GIMPS running in case something bad happens to you, Mr. Woltman?
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Old 2005-09-23, 19:56   #7
olmari
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nelson
(many think there are infinite mersenne primes, but there exists no proof).
So numbers just cease to exist after some certain number?
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Old 2005-09-23, 20:37   #8
wblipp
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olmari
So numbers just cease to exist after some certain number?
Perhaps you misunderstood him to say there might be a finite number of Mersene numbers. He actually said there might be a finite number of Mersenne primes, which are by definition Mersenne numbers that are prime.

Last fiddled with by wblipp on 2005-09-23 at 20:37
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Old 2005-09-23, 20:41   #9
olmari
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wblipp
Perhaps you misunderstood him to say there might be a finite number of Mersene numbers. He actually said there might be a finite number of Mersenne primes, which are by definition Mersenne numbers that are prime.
So mersenne numbers cease to exists after some point? Same thing applies here
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Old 2005-09-24, 11:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olmari
So mersenne numbers cease to exists after some point? Same thing applies here
Of course not.

The nth Mersenne number is 2^n-1. Clearly, you can set n equal to any positive integer, and there are obviously infinitely many positive integers.

The question is: Are there infinitely many Mersenne primes? That is, could there exist an N such that 2^n-1 is always composite for n > N?
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Old 2005-09-24, 17:30   #11
Numbers
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinydu
Clearly, you can set n equal to any positive integer,
I have learned enough from being a member of this forum to know that jinydu is very rarely wrong on these matters. The word in his post that interested me most was where he said “you can set n equal to any positive integer.”
Looking at Mathworld, here:

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/MersenneNumber.html

It says, a number Mn of the form 2n-1 is a Mersenne number when n is an integer. It doesn’t say anything about it having to be a positive integer. But by this definition, since -1 is an integer, we get that 2-1-1 = -0.5 is a Mersenne number, which is clearly wrong. So the conclusion is that jinydu is now officially a better authority on these matters than Mathworld.
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