Ars Technica: Named for the French monk who studied them in the 17th century, Mersenne primes are prime numbers that can be written in the form Mp = 2p−1. The first three Mersenne primes are M2 = 3, M3 = 7, and M5 = 31. The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) is a distributed computing project that uses volunteers’ computers to calculate whether a prime number is also a Mersenne prime. On 25 January, after 39 days of calculations, a computer run by Curtis Cooper, a professor at the University of Central Missouri, discovered the 48th known Mersenne prime, 257,885,161−1. The discovery was confirmed independently by three different computers. GIMPS has been responsible for the discovery of 14 Mersenne primes, with the last discovery occurring in 2009. Cooper will be awarded $3000 for his help.