Hello,

I have a question about the math projects that may sound ignorant, but it’s sincere.

While looking through the math projects, it seems as if the vast majority deal with either finding prime numbers, or trying to factor numbers thought to be prime. Before going through the list on distributedcomputing.info, all of the math projects I knew of by memory (and I’ve been running DC projects for about five years now) dealt with prime numbers with the exception of SZTAKI (a BOINC project).

So, I was just wondering… why? Why so many projects dealing with primes?

I know that there is vale in large prime numbers for cryptography (and therefore economic value). Is there other mathematical value? Do the projects attempt to prove various “prime number generating theorems”?

I’m just curious for the incentive.

Also, I’m not completely ignorant in the realm of mathematics. My degree is in geology. I had “Math Theory Calculus” levels 1, 2, & 3 (calc for math and science majors), as well as physics, chemistry, and optical mineralogy. Please understand you won’t be answering someone who thinks calculus is all squiggly lines and witchcraft. (I know perfectly well that physics is incantations and witchcraft, but not calculus. )

Thank you very much for any enlightenment.