A very basic question about the mathematics projects

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A very basic question about the mathematics projects

Postby Rakarin » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:47 pm

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. :D (I know perfectly well that physics is incantations and witchcraft, but not calculus. :twisted: :wink: )

Thank you very much for any enlightenment.

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Last edited by Rakarin on Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A very basic question about the mathematics projects

Postby CedricVonck » Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:41 am

Rakarin wrote: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. :D (I know perfectly well that physics is incantations and witchcraft, but not calculus. :twisted: :wink: )

Thank you very much for any enlightenment.


Why prime numbers? IMHO, everyone wants to have the largest :D
I think, that the main interest in finding primes is to see who can find the largest one in a lesser time and also partly for the fun!

Regards
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Some Prime Projects are Finite Problems to Be Solved

Postby Spooty » Tue Jul 04, 2006 4:04 am

I've worked on a number of projects for 6-7 years now, almost entirely math (and primes) related.

Part of the appeal for me of working on "Seventeen or Bust" for a couple of years, and now the similar "Prime Sierpinski Project," is that both are finite problems - they can be solved eventually, perhaps even in our lifetimes.

The code-cracking projects (RC5, Assault on 13th Labour) and OGR projects have a similar appeal - progress on both can be measured towards an end sometime in the distant future.

Like a previous poster mentioned, I can see the appeal in the "find the biggest" projects (GIMPS and many others), but I just like the idea of a DC project collectively putting a math conjecture/theorem/whatever to rest once and for all (e.g., proving the lowest Sierpinski number in the case of SoB).
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