Browse Definitions:
Definition

Mersenne prime (or Marsenne prime)

A Mersenne (also spelled Marsenne) prime is a specific type of prime number. It must be reducible to the form 2 n - 1, where n is a prime number. The term comes from the surname of a French monk who first defined it. The first few known values of n that produce Mersenne primes are where n = 2, n = 3, n = 5, n = 7, n = 13, n = 17, n = 19, n = 31, n = 61, and n = 89.

With the advent of computers to perform number-crunching tasks formerly done by humans, ever-larger Mersenne primes (and primes in general) have been found. The quest to find prime numbers is akin to other numerical searches done by computers. Examples are the decimal expansions of irrational numbers such as pi (the circumference-to-diameter ratio of a circle) or e (the natural logarithm base). But the 'next' prime is more difficult to find than the 'next' digit in the expansion of an irrational number. 

It takes the most powerful computer a long time to check a large number to determine if it is prime, and an even longer time to determine if it is a Mersenne prime. For this reason, Mersenne primes are of particular interest to developers of strong encryption methods.

In August 2008, Edson Smith, a system administrator at UCLA, found the largest prime number known to that date. Smith had installed software for the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (Gimps), a volunteer-based distributed computing project.  The number (which is a Mersenne prime) is 12,978,189 digits long. It would take nearly two-and-a-half months to write out and, if printed, would stretch out for 30 miles.

 

Learn More About IT:
> Wikipedia has an entry about Mersenne primes.
> See Mersenne Primes: History, Theorems and Lists.
> The Guardian explains 'Why 2 to the power of 43112609 - 1 = $100000 for prime number hunters.'

This was last updated in March 2011

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

I think that there shouldn't be any largest prime number, because if M44 is the largest prime by mersenne's prime, then 2^M44-1 should be the largest prime and so on.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • spear phishing

    Spear phishing is an email-spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to ...

  • supercookie

    A supercookie is a type of tracking cookie inserted into an HTTP header by an internet service provider to collect data about a ...

  • email spam

    Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

  • yottabyte (YB)

    A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

  • NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

    An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close