Copyright ©2003 by Paul Niquette. All rights reserved. 
Associated Press Headline, December 10, 2003 The number is 6,320,430 digits long  more than 2 million digits larger than the previous largest known prime and requires 1,500 pages to print it. The number turned up on a Michigan State University graduate student's computer. Michael Shafer, 26, participated as a volunteer in an eightyearold, worldwide project called... The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search ...which harnessed the power of 211,000 computers, in effect creating a supercomputer capable of performing 9 trillion calculations per second. Mersenne primes are a special category, expressed as 2^{p }  1 where p is also a prime number. Shafer's discovery can be written as... ...and was independently verified by other participants. 
