Largest Known Prime Made Official

The checking and double-checking is complete.  On November 8, 2014, M(32582657) was officially confirmed as largest known prime number.  Originally discovered in 2006, M(32582657) is the 44th known Mersenne prime.  Mersenne primes are of the form 2 ^ p – 1, where p is a prime number.  For instance 2^3 – 1, or 7 is a Mersenne prime.  That means that 2^32582657 – 1 contains over 9 million digits!

Large prime numbers are important for the public-key encryption technology known as RSA.  RSA stands for Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman.  These are the three people who developed the algorithm.