February 3, 1998 4:30 PM PST
Short Take: Largest prime number found with computer network
A 19-year-old college student has found the world's largest known prime number using a computer network linking more than 4,000 volunteers. The number is 2^3021377-1. Known as a Mersenne prime, it is 909,526 digits long. The The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or GIMPS project, is coordinated through a central server that doles out computing tasks to the computers linked to it.