“The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has apparently discovered a new world-record prime number. A GIMPS client computer reported the number on August 23rd, and verification is currently under way. The verification could take up to two weeks to complete. The last Mersenne prime discovered was over 9.8 million digits long, strongly suggesting that the new value may break the 10 million digit barrier — qualifying for the EFF’s $100000 prize!
Now, that’s great! But what’s a Mersenne prime? I had no idea up to about 10 minutes ago, but Mersenne Primes: History, Theorems and Lists helped: “When 2n-1 is prime it is said to be a Mersenne prime.” This last link is written, for some unknown reason, in a language I can understand. Anyway, it is neat because people get off on it. Mathinumberites at least. 🙂