20040121, 10:41  #1 
2^{2}·1,597 Posts 
How does this whole primetesting thing work?
Hi,
I have seen that Prime95 is considerably faster than other prime programs (eg Primo) ut is that because prime95's algorithms would only work with a mersenne prime? Cheers, Chris 
20040121, 17:39  #2 
Jan 2003
North Carolina
366_{8} Posts 
Yes. Prime95 evaluates primality for numbers in the form of (2^p)1 were p is a prime number (and could but doesn't have to be a Mersenne prime). This special form and the fact that the assembly code pulls out all the stops is what makes it fast. Improvements are being made all the time and is quite a feat of research, coding, and testing.
This url http://www.mersenne.org/math.htm may be of further help. 
20040716, 00:28  #3 
Jul 2004
3 Posts 
How does this whole primetesting thing work?
Hi. I started running Prime95 as I was inspired by the recent small article in new scientist about M41. I've been running seti@home for at least a couple of years, and thought this was something a little more concrete.
o) Can I just cut and paste the Prime95 folder to wherever I'd like it? o) How can I be sure that the program is doing work of type 4 (10,000,000 plus digits? And that therefore I have a chance of my PC being the one to discover M42? Thanks 
20040716, 01:20  #4  
Jul 2004
2 Posts 
Quote:


20040716, 02:07  #5  
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA
2^{2}×3×641 Posts 
Quote:
So you do not have to be testing a 10,000,000plusdigit number in order to have a chance of finding M42. In order for a Mersenne number 2^{N}1 to be at least 10,000,000 decimal digits long, the exponent N must be greater than 33219277. So if the number you're testing has an exponent greater than 33,219,277, then you are working on a number with at least 10 million decimal digits. Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 20040716 at 02:13 

20040716, 02:31  #6 
Aug 2003
Snicker, AL
7·137 Posts 
Another thought  The computer you use to test a 10,000,000+ digit number should probably be at least a p3 1 ghz. Anything less will take way too long to finish. A HT enabled P4 at 2 ghz or better is preferred. As a benchmark, a pIII 1.2 ghz machine will take about 7 months to complete a 10 million digit number where a P4 at 2.8 ghz will take about 3 or 4 weeks.
Once you have Prime95 open, click on "test" then "primenet". Make sure the box for "request 10,000,000 digit numbers" is checked and uncheck the other 3 boxes for double checking etc. This will restrict your machine to only do 10M numbers. Fusion 
20040727, 13:49  #7 
Jul 2004
3 Posts 
Thanks very much for your responses. I was hoping to tell from Results.txt of the Prime95.exe display exactly what test I was doing. There must be explanations somewhere in the FAQ but I've missed them. Thanks anyway though, it's all very useful info.

20040731, 14:28  #8 
Jul 2004
Mid Calder, Scotland
5×37 Posts 
How does this whole primetesting thing work?
Hi Guys,
Love the site and the concept of searching for Mersenne numbers!!! I hope I'm not going over old ground so please go easy on me! I wanted to ask a two part question: I'm working on Prime95 and on one of my PCs I'm trying a 10,000,000+ number. Does the calculation stop as soon as Prime finds a factor? If so, should I be excited that I've got to 27,000,000 without it stopping? Thanks Mark (Scotland) 
20040731, 14:51  #9 
Jul 2004
1110_{2} Posts 
Common question... Depends what step you're on.
In the beginning, Prime95 tries to find small factors of the prime using several different methods. If a small factor is found, then Prime95 reports its findings and moves on to another exponent. If no small factors are found, then you move on to the LucasLehmer primality testing. This is an iterative process (where the results of one step seed the next step) and must run all the way to the end. If the result of the very last iteration is zero, then you found a prime Mersenne. If you haven't guessed, the LucasLehmer test takes a long time for very big numbers (weeks to months depending on the size of the number and the speed of your machine). 
20040731, 14:52  #10 
Oct 2003
Australia, Brisbane
1D6_{16} Posts 
What you are doing now is actually a LL test. It actually doesn't look for factors. The LL test is a test that will tell us if it is prime or not. At the end of the test if it comes back that it is not prime, we will still not know any of its factors, we will just that know it is just not prime.
If we were to instead to try to fully factorise it, it would take thousands of years. That is why we do the LL test. It is the only way (that is known at the moment) that will give us a result in our lifetime. However, before the number was given to you, someone would have done a little factoring on it. 10mil digit numbers are factored up to about 2^68 (?) before they are assigned for LL testing. If a factor is found, we know that it isn't prime and so we wouldn't bother doing an LL test on it. 
20040731, 14:53  #11 
Oct 2003
Australia, Brisbane
2×5×47 Posts 
Argh, jfollas posted while i was still typing mine. jfollas's is probably a better explanation than what mine is.

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