20040531, 16:06  #1 
Aug 2002
2^{2}·5·13 Posts 
What is the use of these large primes
Having read the stories, and threads about 2^{24,036,583}1 on both slashdot and k5, I believe we need a simple explanation, that everyone can understand of possible uses of these large Mersenne primes, and why we are searching for them. Basically a standard piece of text that can be added to Press Releases and other stories.
I am a bit tired of reading about cancer, ET, proteins and so on, as better projects to "waste" MY cycles for I am a professional DC nut, so it doesn't bother me that much, as I run all types of projects, but since my heart lies with GIMPS, I would like to see some good reasons for the usefulness of the project that I can slam in the table for the unbelievers PM 
20040531, 16:45  #2 
May 2004
Vancouver, Canada
2^{2}×5^{2} Posts 
I read something that it helps with security and encryption... I forgot where I read that though...

20040531, 17:13  #3 
Sep 2002
2·331 Posts 
When a new Mersenne prime is found :
It adds to the list of known Mersenne primes, providing more data points for conjectures dealing with Mersennes. It usually is the largest prime number. Prize money for finding a 10 Million digit prime. The program is a good test for determining if your PC is calculating correctly. It has spurred the development of advances in programming. It has provided a reason for mersenneforum.org where a gracious disemination of knowledge occurs, with people at all levels from little math understanding to experts. The forum is also a home for other related math projects, bringing expertise from other groups that wouldn't have necessarily been brought together. Gets people interested and more knowledgeable about math. It provides a thrill when a new prime is found ( recently every year or so), some other project find nothing. (Also a challenge, trying to figure out what is the new prime before it is revealed). It doesn't have a screensaver so you can still use any you chose or none at all. Has a stress testing mode that will quickly catch calculation failures on PC, on a new machine winnowing out a defective machine while still under warranty. (Maybe marginal component(s) that would have failed just after the warranty expired.) (Maybe caused by buggy drivers that would cause errors in calculations with other software, spreadsheets, tax programs etc.) 
20040601, 20:20  #4 
"Patrik Johansson"
Aug 2002
Uppsala, Sweden
1A8_{16} Posts 
I think Chris Caldwell's explanation http://www.utm.edu/research/primes/notes/faq/why.html is a very good reference. My favourite answer is number four.

20040601, 21:05  #5  
∂^{2}ω=0
Sep 2002
República de California
2×13×443 Posts 
Quote:
If a hostile race of space aliens is considering whether to attack earth, as a simple gauge of our technological level of advancement (i.e. whether we'd be easy pickings) they might send a brief message to the effect of: "what is the largest prime number you have found?" or simply ask us to broadcast the largest Mersenneprime exponent we know. If the answer is not sufficiently large, they might decide that our technology is somewhat advanced but inferior to theirs, and designate Earth for their next colonization project. In other words, the fate of humanity could very well be riding on it. 

20040602, 01:49  #6  
Dec 2003
Hopefully Near M48
1758_{10} Posts 
Quote:


20040602, 06:44  #7  
May 2004
Seattle, Washington, US
2^{3} Posts 
Quote:


20040602, 09:17  #8 
Dec 2003
Hopefully Near M48
2·3·293 Posts 
What if they asked us for M100?
Could we just reply: 10 (base M100)? 
20040602, 09:27  #9  
Banned
"Luigi"
Aug 2002
Team Italia
1001010011110_{2} Posts 
Quote:
Aaaargh! Space spammers!!! 

20040602, 10:24  #10 
Aug 2003
Upstate NY, USA
146_{16} Posts 
binary representation easy to make into zip though ... 24 million+ of the same "character"

20040602, 15:08  #11  
∂^{2}ω=0
Sep 2002
República de California
10110011111110_{2} Posts 
Quote:


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