Posts Tagged ‘computing’
Now, as ArsTechnica reports:
A new largest prime number has been discovered, mersenne.org reported Tuesday. 257,885,161-1, which is also the 48th Mersenne prime, was discovered on the computer of Dr. Curtis Cooper, a professor at the University of Central Missouri.
A Mersenne prime is a prime number that can be written in the form Mp = 2n-1, and they’re extremely rare finds. Of all the numbers between 0 and 25,964,951 there are 1,622,441 that are prime, but only 42 are Mersenne primes.
The 48th Mersenne prime was discovered as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), a project that has used volunteer computers to calculate and search for primes for 17 years. Dr. Cooper’s computer took 39 days of continuous calculation to verify the prime status of the number, which has over 17 million digits…
As we regret the limited number of fingers and toes with which we were born, we might recall that it was on this date in 1946 that the first ancestor of Dr. Cooper’s computer– the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer)– was first demonstrated in operation. (It was announced to the public te following day.) The first general-purpose computer (Turing-complete, digital, and capable of being programmed and re-programmed to solve different problems), ENIAC was begun in 1943, as part of the U.S’s war effort (as a classified military project known as “Project PX”); it was conceived and designed by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert of the University of Pennsylvania, where it was built. The finished machine, composed of 17,468 electronic vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around 5 million hand-soldered joints, weighed more than 27 tons and occupied a 30 x 50 foot room– in its time the largest single electronic apparatus in the world. ENIAC’s basic clock speed was 100,000 cycles per second. Today’s home computers have clock speeds of 1,000,000,000 cycles per second; Dr, Gordon’s, much faster still.
From Flavorwire, “Vintage Photos of Rock Stars In Their Bathing Suits.”
(Special Seasonal Bonus: from Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton to Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald, “Take a Dip: Literary Greats In Their Bathing Suits.”)
As we reach for the Coppertone, we might might wish a soulful Happy Birthday to musician Isaac Hayes; he was born on this date in 1942. An early stalwart at legendary Stax Records (e.g., Hayes co-wrote and played on the Sam and Dave hits “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Coming”), Hayes began to come into his own after the untimely demise of Stax’s headliner, Otis Redding. First with his album Hot Buttered Soul, then with the score– including most famously the theme– for Shaft, Hayes became a star, and a pillar of the more engaged Black music scene of the 70s. Hayes remained a pop culture force (e.g., as the voice of Chef on South Park) until his death in 2008. (Note: some sources give Hayes birth date as August 20; but county records in Covington, KY, his birthplace suggest that it was the 6th.)
Your correspondent is headed for his ancestral seat, and for the annual parole check-in and head-lice inspection that does double duty as a family reunion. Connectivity in that remote location being the challenged proposition that it is, these missives are likely to be in abeyance for the duration. Regular service should resume on or about August 16.
Meantime, lest readers be bored, a little something to ponder:
Depending who you ask, there’s a 20 to 50 percent chance that you’re living in a computer simulation. Not like The Matrix, exactly – the virtual people in that movie had real bodies, albeit suspended in weird, pod-like things and plugged into a supercomputer. Imagine instead a super-advanced version of The Sims, running on a machine with more processing power than all the minds on Earth. Intelligent design? Not necessarily. The Creator in this scenario could be a future fourth-grader working on a science project.
Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that we may very well all be Sims. This possibility rests on three developments: (1) the aforementioned megacomputer. (2) The survival and evolution of the human race to a “posthuman” stage. (3) A decision by these posthumans to research their own evolutionary history, or simply amuse themselves, by creating us – virtual simulacra of their ancestors, with independent consciousnesses…
Read the full story– complete with a consideration of the more-immediate (and less-existentially-challenging) implications of “virtualization”– and watch the accompanying videos at Big Think… and channel your inner-Phillip K. Dick…
Y’all be good…