UCLA mathematicians have won a $100,000 prize from the Electronic Frontier Foundation for discovering the long been sought after 13-million-digit prime number.
Prime numbers are those, like three, seven and 11, that are divisible only by themselves and one. Mersenne primes, named after the 17th century French mathematician Marin Mersenne who discovered them, take the form 2P – 1, where P is also a prime number.
The bragging rights for discovering the 46th known Mersenne prime are huge. You see it was mathematicians at UCLA who discovered it. It wasn’t mathematicians in Japan, China, India, Russia, or some other foreign country where their students our perform our students in the United States. Go USA!
UCLA’s Edson Smith, leader of the effort is now leading the effort to look for the next one. The odds of finding another Mersenne prime number are one in 150,000.