The Hunt for Prime Numbers: An Overview of Various Techniques
2 min read
When we think of mathematics, numerous topics come to mind. But prime numbers are certainly one of the most fascinating and mysterious concepts. Prime numbers are defined as integers greater than 1 which cannot be divided evenly by any other number except for 1 and itself. While their definition may seem simple, their properties and applications are incredibly complex and intriguing.
In this blog post, we'll look at the various ways prime numbers can be discovered and explore some of their fascinating patterns.
We'll learn about trial division, Sieve of Eratosthenes, Sieve of Sundaram, Miller-Rabin primality test, AKS primality test, and Fermat primality test – all of which can be used to identify prime numbers.
Trial division is the simplest method used to determine if a number is prime or not. It involves dividing the number being tested by all integers less than it and checking if any of them divide the number without leaving a remainder.
The Sieve of Eratosthenes is an ancient algorithm that starts by marking all numbers as prime, then eliminates all multiples of 2, then all multiples of 3, and so on until all numbers up to a specified limit are either marked as prime or composite. The Sieve of Sundaram follows a similar logic but eliminates numbers in a slightly different way.
The Miller-Rabin primality test is a probabilistic test that quickly determines if a number is likely to be prime by using a series of calculations and random numbers. While it gives a high chance of a number being prime, there is no guarantee.
On the other hand, the AKS primality test is a deterministic test that proves whether a number is prime or composite by using polynomial equations. It is more complex and time-consuming than the other methods mentioned. Finally, the Fermat primality test utilizes Fermat's Little Theorem to quickly determine if a number is likely to be prime through random selection. As with the Miller-Rabin primality test, it too gives a high chance of a number being prime but not a guarantee.
While this blog post only scratched the surface on prime numbers, hopefully, it gave you an appreciation for how complex and interesting they are! Prime numbers have been studied by scientists and mathematicians alike for centuries, and they continue to surprise us with their unique properties. So the next time you come across a prime number, take a moment to marvel at its hidden patterns and mysteries!