2001-12-11 08:06 ☼ post

The new number, expressed as 2

^{13,466,917}-1, contains 4,053,946 digits and would take the best part of three weeks to write out longhand.

I remember a brief mention of Mersenne primes back in the number theory class I took in my last semester in college, although I don’t think we gave them an in depth study or anything. I also vaguely recall that a guy got in trouble a few years back for installing software that used the spare computing cycles on USWest’s computers to search for one, but I could be mistaken.

I love how mathematics can turn an unwieldy 4 million digit plus number into an elegant ten digit expression. That’s some serious compression!