February 22, 2007

Seventeen or Bust

Sitting here with the snow keeping me indoors I just wanted to write a little praise for the project that is keeping my hut warm.
The hut is warmed by electric radiators, so I don't feel bad about using my two Pentium 4's for heating the hut.

The way I am doing that is by keeping these two processors working at 100% checking if some big numbers is prime.
The numbers I am checking is of the form k * 2^n + 1, where k is one of 9 numbers left (when the project started there were 17 k's left to check hence the name) that is smaller than k=78557, with this k it has been proven that there is no primes for any n.
So the challenge is to show that k=78557 is the smallest of such numbers. The project is now checking numbers bigger 12 million, it approximately half a month to check one of these n if it is prime with the CPU running 24/7.
There are no practical implications for this search right now, I do this mostly because I like the project, the way it is driven. It started out as a garage project and hasn't really gotten beyond this stage in many ways even though there are lots of people contributing.

I think I will suspend my efforts on this project soon with a bit of sadness, but I am going to move to an apartment that is not heated by electric radiators. That probably also means I will replace the smaller of my CPU's with something that uses a bit less power consuming, having a P4 as a server is a waste of money and energy, even if it doesn't run 100% all the time.

So if anyone out there is interested I have a p4 2.4GHz with motherboard for sale, I'd even throw you a never NVidia graphics card in the deal, I don't need any heavy graphics for a server.

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