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Big Prime Nets Big Prize

April 6, 2000

Big Prime Nets Big Prize

EFF Gives $50,000 to Finder of Largest Known Prime Number

Katina Bishop - Electronic Frontier Foundation
(415) 436-9333 ex. 101

San Francisco, CA -- The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced that it has awarded the first of four Cooperative Computing Awards on April 6th at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Toronto, Canada. (see The $50,000 prize will go to Nayan Hajratwala of Plymouth, Michigan, a participant of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), for the discovery of a two million digit prime number found using the collective power of tens of thousands of computers on the network.

"GIMPS represents much of the best spirit of the Internet, and Entropia is proud to be its distributed computing platform," said Kurowski. "Capturing the imaginations of the young and old alike, GIMPS is community oriented, frontier expanding, and foremostly founded on fun and the love of recreational discovery."

"GIMPS leader George Woltman and Entropia wanted the full award amount to go to the individual or team whose computer found the winning prime," stated Scott Kurowski, founder of, Inc., the company that created and operates the network that powers GIMPS and similar computing efforts. "We believed this added excitement for all GIMPS participants - everyone had an equal chance of winning a substantial award."

EFF sponsors the Cooperative Computing Awards to encourage innovative computing that brings together ordinary Internet users to collectively contribute to solving huge scientific problems. EFF hopes to spur the technology of cooperative networking and encourage Internet users worldwide to join together in solving scientific problems involving massive computation. EFF is uniquely situated to sponsor these awards, since part of its mission is to encourage the harmonious integration of Internet innovations into the whole of society. Future prizes for larger primes will be given, up to $250,000. See for more details.

"The EFF awards are about cooperation," said John Gilmore,EFF co-founder, Interim Executive Director, and project leader for the awards. "Prime numbers are important in mathematics and encryption, but the real message is that many other problems can be solved by similar methods."

The Cooperative Computing Award will be held on the evening of April 6, 2000 in Toronto's historic St. Lawrence Hall as part of the Ninth Annual EFF Pioneer Award Ceremony. The ceremony and reception are made possible by a contribution from

"It has been an honor to participate in a project that has brought so much publicity to the distributed computing world," stated winner Nayan Hajratwala. "Thanks to George and Scottfor the amazing work they have done on GIMPS. The EFF's CooperativeComputing Awards will no doubt spur more interest and participation in the GIMPS project and bring us bigger and better primes."

For more information on the Cooperative Computing Awards, see:

For more information on GIMPS, see:

For more information on, Inc., see:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( ) is the leading global nonprofit organization linking technical architectures with legal frameworks to support the rights of individuals in an open society. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most-linked-to Web sites in the world.

[Note to EFF members: Your membership dues do NOT go into the Cooperative Computing Awards fund. The CCA program is funded entirely by a single earmarked individual donation.]

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