Why are mathematicians looking for Prime numbers with millions of digits?


2018-01-16 09:00:07




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Why are mathematicians looking for Prime numbers with millions of digits?

Prime numbers are more than numbers that are divisible by themselves and one. It's a mathematical puzzle that mathematicians are trying to solve ever since then, when Euclid proved that there's no end. Project Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, which was tasked with searching a large number of primes very rare species, recently discovered the biggest Prime number known to date. It 23 249 425 digits is enough to fill the book out of 9000 pages. For comparison: the number of atoms in the entire observable Universe is estimated to number not more than a hundred characters.

The New number, which is written as 2⁷⁷232⁹1⁷-1 (two in 77 232 917-degree minus one) has found a volunteer who has devoted 14 years of computing time on this search.

It Might surprise you why we know the number that is stretched to 23 million characters? After all, the most important numbers for us are those which we use to quantify our world? So, Yes not so. We need to know about the properties of different numbers, not only to develop the technology on which we depend, but also to keep them safe.


Security of Prime numbers

One of the most common applications of Prime numbers is the RSA encryption system. In 1978 Ronald to Rivest, ADI Shamir and Leonard Adleman took as a basis the simplest known facts about numbers and created the RSA. They have developed a system enabled to transmit information in encrypted form — like credit card and via the Internet.

The First ingredient of the algorithm two large Prime numbers. The higher the number, the safer the encryption. The numbers used for counting, one, two, three, four, and so on — also known as natural numbers are also very useful for this process. But Prime numbers are the basis of all natural numbers and therefore more important.

Take, for example, the number 70. It is divisible by 2 and 35. Next, 35 — piece 5 and 7. 70 is the product of three smaller numbers: 2, 5 and 7. This is all because they have not broken. We found the primary components that make up the 70, carried out the factorization.

Multiplication of two numbers, even very large, — it is a tedious but simple task. Factorization of the same integer, on the other hand, — it is difficult, therefore, the RSA system uses this advantage.

Suppose Alice and Bob want to communicate secretly on the Internet. They need an encryption system. If they first meet in person, they can specify the method of encryption and decryption that is known only to them, but if the first conversation will take place online, they have to first openly discuss encryption system — and this risk.

However, if Alice will choose two large numbers, calculate their product and inform about it openly, to determine the original primes will be very difficult, because only she knows the factors.

So Alice informs his work to Bob, keeping secret the factors. Bob uses the product to encrypt his message to Alice, which can only be decrypted using known factors. If eve wants to eavesdrop, she will never be able to decrypt Bob's message if you don't get factors of Alice, and Alice is, of course, will be against. If eve tries to spread out the work — even with the world's fastest supercomputer — it will not work. There is no such algorithm which could handle this task over the lifetime of the Universe.



Large Prime numbers also used in other cryptosystems. The faster the computers, the more numbers that they can hack. For modern applications rather simple numbers containing hundreds of digits. These numbers are small in comparison with the recently discovered giant. In fact, the new Prime number is so large that at present none of the possible technological advances in speed of computation may not lead to the need to use it for cryptographic security. It is likely that even the risks posed by the advent of quantum computers will not require the use of such monsters for safety.

However, do not search more secure cryptosystems and not improving computers became the reason of recent discoveries of Mersenne. Are mathematicians obsessed with finding the jewels inside the chest with the words "Prime numbers". This desire began from invoices "one, two, three..." and still leads us on. And that, along with the fact there was a revolution in the field of the Internet, it was an accident.

The Famous British mathematician Godfrey Harold hardy said, "Pure mathematics is generally much more useful than applied. It makes a useful technique, and mathematical technique is studying mostly pure math". Will giant Prime numbers are useful is unclear. But the search for such knowledge quenches the intellectual thirst of the human race that began with Euclidean proof of the infinity of primes.


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