They've done it again! GIMPS has discovered the largest known prime number: 257,885,161-1. This massive 17,425,170 digit number was discovered thanks to clever distributed computing software that uses idle computer time donated by volunteers.
In issue No 1 we introduced GIMPS, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. Well, on Sunday 24th August 1997 they did it again.
You may think that searching for new prime numbers is a job for super-computers. However, on 13th November 1996, Frenchman Joel Armengaud discovered a new one using his humble PC.