Central Missouri professor Curtis Cooper discovers world's largest prime number, again

WARRENSBURG, Mo. - A University of Central Missouri professor has made quite a find.

Curtis Cooper is a volunteer with Great Internet Marsenne Prime Search (GIMPS). For the third time in his career, Cooper and UCM have discovered the largest known prime number.

The number is 2 to the 57,885,161st power, minus one. It has 17,425,170 digits.

The new number, a bit too long to include in this story, is a member of a special class of extremely rare prime numbers known as Mersenne primes, , which all take the form 2 to the xth power, minus 1. There are now only 48 known Mersenne primes.

If you were to read the newest number, at a modest average of 3 digits per second, it would take you just over 67 days.

For more information on Cooper's discovery, visit http://bit.ly/XVQXLP.

To see the entire number, visit http://bit.ly/XVR7m8 (link may take a while to download).

Editor's Note: A previously-published version of this story incorrectly identified the University of Central Missouri professor as Chris Cooper.

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