Mersenne Prime Numbers

A Mersenne prime is a prime number that is one less than a power of two. These numbers range from single digit numbers to the largest known prime numbers. These types of prime numbers are easy to work with on modern binary computers, and thus this explains why they tend to be the larger of the known primes. As a small look into its unique properties, a Mersenne prime is simply a string of binary ones. By exploiting these unique traits and cheap computational power, the largest known prime is a Mersenne prime, containing over 22.3 million digits.

Because of the large number of digits, the scale of such a number becomes lost on an individual. It is possible, though inconvenient, to either compute or download your own copy of such a prime. But then finding a program capable of viewing it becomes a problem.

Mathematician and author Matt Parker attempted to tackle this problem when the 49th Mersenne prime was discovered. He created a three volume, fine print book containing all 22.3 million digits. However, few people will ever have access to such a book.

Our project aims to solve this. It consists of a website which allows the user to choose which Mersenne prime to view. The directed page uses dynamic addition and removal of divs to display parts of the Mersenne Prime and allows the user to scroll through the number without waiting for loading or buffering. Furthermore, the base ten digits have been precomputed, split into sections, and stored in a special format to decrease bandwidth usage without the need for general purpose compression. A unique scroll panel also allows for either line by line transversal, or skipping of entire passages to the end of the number.

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