# UCLA group discovers massive prime number

1. Sep 29, 2008

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26914730/from/ET/
Go Bruins!

2. Sep 29, 2008

### Art

What do they use these large prime numbers for? I think I heard one time it was something to do with encryption but if so how does it work? Or is it just for fun?

Edit - I looked it up and it seems encryption is based on the product of 2 large primes (public key) and the primes themselves (private key) but seeing as how 128 bit encryption already yields 3,835,341,275,459,350,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 different prime numbers which would take a computer 121,617,874,031,562,000 years to crack why bother looking for bigger ones or do primes have other uses?

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2008
3. Sep 29, 2008

### Cyrus

Pffft. Chuck norris counted to infinity,.............twice. Don't see him boasting.

4. Sep 29, 2008

### Art

I've told Chuck a million times not to exaggerate.

5. Sep 29, 2008

### Jimmy Snyder

I found the smallest prime number.

6. Sep 29, 2008

### Art

Speaking of which why isn't '1' a prime number any more? It used to be. As all other non-prime numbers except '1' are composite numbers it seems unfair to cast the number '1' out into no-man's land.

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2008
7. Sep 29, 2008

### Jimmy Snyder

You can define prime number as you wish. However, if you define it so that 1 is prime, then you lose the unique factorization theorem among others.

8. Sep 29, 2008

### Art

Hey somebody has to stick up for the little guys

I think there should be a '1' is prime campaign.

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2008
9. Sep 29, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

10. Sep 29, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

I don't have any reference at hand, but I think this information must be outdated. 512 bits key can be breaken in a reasonable time - it was done for the first time not later than in 2000.

11. Sep 29, 2008

### LowlyPion

Vista was too slow?

12. Sep 29, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
To find very large prime numbers is impressive, but to find one so large that it has mass is really astounding!

Where did they find it?

13. Sep 29, 2008

### Art

:rofl: Maybe it was produced in the LHC.

14. Sep 29, 2008

### Art

Drat, Pipped at the post!! I only had 121,617,874,031,561,999 years left in my project to be the first to break it.

15. Sep 29, 2008

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
:rofl:

I'm also wondering "why" as well. Is there a useful reason to need to know it, or is it just a weird hobby that math geeks have?

16. Sep 29, 2008

### Jimmy Snyder

I read somewhere that a quantum computer was built that factored the number 15. That was my public key.

17. Sep 29, 2008

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Oh, that took a LOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG time to sink in. GROAN!

18. Sep 29, 2008

### Art

Let's face, it with 13 million figures they could tell us anything. It's not as if we're going to go away and check it.

19. Sep 29, 2008

### Math Jeans

I think that we should move on from prime numbers to something more interesting.

Maybe morphing a code with a similar concept to Arnold's Cat Map. That would be fun. (unless they already have done that in which case I just feel stupid).

20. Sep 29, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus