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Owners of home computers join researchers in cracking problems and crunching data

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Author:Ivars Peterson - Science News Online
Description: Owners of home computers have joined researchers in cracking problems and crunching data, searching for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life, running large models of the world's climate, and carrying on a worldwide effort to identify record-breaking primes—numbers evenly divisible only by themselves and 1, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). A fascination with gargantuan numbers, especially those that are primes, has played a central role in the rise of collective computing. Efforts are also under way to set up systems that would allow individuals and teams to join forces to factor large Fermat numbers and to forecast climate.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Large Numbers, Prime Numbers, Number Theory, Computer Science, Cryptography, Meteorology

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