For more information on how the largest prime number was found, see

www.mersenne.org.

Python does support large numbers, but it's not very fast for such

large numbers. There is a Python module called GMPY that uses the GMP

(Gnu Multiple Precision) library for faster operations on large

numbers.

Both Python and GMP use a binary format to store large numbers. Binary

format is most efficient for computation, but it is very slow to

convert huge numbers from the internal binary format to a decimal

format.

I have written a library designed specifically to operate with huge

numbers. It stores the numbers in a decimal format so conversion to

decimal format is very fast. On my not-quite-ready-to-release

development version, I can calculate, and convert to a string in

decimal format, the largest known prime (2^25964951 - 1) in less than

10 seconds. My best time so far is 6.6 seconds.

An early alpha-quality release is available at

http://home.comcast.net/~casevh/
I also have release candidate versions of GMPY for Windows on that

page.

I'll try to get the next release and some demos up in a few days.

Case