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  • Feature

    Deep network

    Gas bubbles effervesce from a mound of muck on the seafloor in a deep submarine canyon off the west coast of Canada. Microbes beneath the sediment belch the bubbles after feasting on the ancient remains of algae, sea critters and their poop: a primordial stew that’s been simmering since long before humans walked the Earth.

    This gassy oasis attracts an odd collection of critters. Worms...

    10/04/2013 - 15:00 Earth, Technology
  • News

    New largest prime discovered

    The roster of prime numbers—those numbers divisible only by 1 and themselves—has a new top dog. On Feb. 18, the computer-based Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) turned up the largest known prime number, whose formula is 2 to the 25,964,951st power minus 1. The new prime is a whopping 7,816,230 digits long, making it more than half-a-million digits longer than the previous record-...

    03/15/2005 - 18:03 Numbers
  • Feature

    Digital Cells

    Imagine a future in which a single drop of water holds a veritable army of living robots; in which people download software updates not for their computers, but for their bacteria; and in which specially programmed cells course through a person's arteries, monitoring blood sugar concentrations and keeping an eye out for cholesterol buildups.

    These...

    04/21/2003 - 10:56 Technology
  • Feature

    Great Computations

    Computers at home or in the office often sit idle for minutes, hours, or days at a time. The Internet now allows researchers to take advantage of this enormous reservoir of unused computer power.

    More than 1.6 million people have downloaded software to sift through signals collected by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico as part of a search for signs of intelligent...

    09/06/2002 - 17:54 Numbers
  • Feature

    Guessing Secrets

    Even on uneventful days, traffic on the Internet can sometimes stutter to a crawl. It gets much worse when millions of people go online at the same time to view the latest images from a Mars expedition, download a trailer for an upcoming Star Wars movie, or take in a titillating fashion show. The mushrooming demand on such days can rapidly clog this worldwide web of computer networks, causing...

    04/01/2002 - 13:07 Numbers
  • News

    Searchers capture a champion megaprime

    A participant in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has identified the largest prime number yet. When printed out, its digits would fill more than 450 pages of Science News.

    Discovered by 20-year-old Michael Cameron of Owen Sound, Ontario, the new champion prime is 213,466,917 – 1, which runs to 4,053,946 decimal digits.

    A prime is a whole number evenly divisible by...

    12/11/2001 - 11:14 Numbers