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View Poll Results: What should be the official discovery date of M43?
Dec. 15 28 52.83%
Dec. 16 25 47.17%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2005-12-21, 01:54   #1
Prime95
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Default M43 discovery date

If the computer found M43 on Dec. 15th but did not contact the server and no human knew about the result until Dec. 16th then what is the discovery date for M43?
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Old 2005-12-21, 01:58   #2
ixfd64
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I first saw it on December 15 on Pacific Time, but it was al;ready December 16 on GMT. GMT is the universal time, so I'd say December 16.
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Old 2005-12-21, 02:39   #3
Prime95
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The computer wrote the find to results.txt on Dec. 15 GMT if that affects your answer.
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Old 2005-12-21, 02:53   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime95
The computer wrote the find to results.txt on Dec. 15 GMT if that affects your answer.
I remember reading Caldwell's reasonign that a computer run found two lower Mp's, but the discoverer only read the printout once, after both had been discovered, and thus, the smallest was never the largest known prime, since it was only known to computer.

By this reasoning- whihc I accept as valid- Dec. 16th.
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Old 2005-12-21, 03:31   #5
M29
 
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I vote for when the computer actually found the prime.

By way of precedence, Reisel found M18 on Sep 8, 1957 but did not "announce" until Nov 8, 1957. Sept 8, 1957 is the accecpted data of discovery.

See http://primes.utm.edu/mersenne/LukeM...t/lit_027s.htm
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Old 2005-12-21, 04:14   #6
Lumo
 
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Default Discovery

According to Wikipedia, discovery is an act of observation, and it must be done by humans. This means 12/16, but moreover it was already 12/16 GMT where it really matters. Also, 12/16 has already been announced on Mersenne.org.
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Old 2005-12-21, 17:12   #7
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For all we know, all of these primes may have been previously discovered by other computers in other locations in the universe. Had the disk failed prior to server notification, we most likely would still know nothing about the new prime. I say December 16th as the first knowledge of it by "earth civilization".
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Old 2005-12-21, 20:23   #8
ewmayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M29
I vote for when the computer actually found the prime.

By way of precedence, Reisel found M18 on Sep 8, 1957 but did not "announce" until Nov 8, 1957. Sept 8, 1957 is the accecpted data of discovery.
But Riesel says he repeated the test of M(3217) on September 12th to make sure there had been no computer glitches during the initial run - that indicates that he knew of the computer's (alleged) discovery no later than that point (and in fact, likely on the 8th, since he says he tested each M(p) up to 3300 once - i.e. finishing the initial wave of tests would've taken several days after hitting p=3217, since each test took several hours and there are 8 remaining primes < 3300.)

In my view the relevant precedent here is the pair of primes discovered in 1961 by Hurwitz within seconds of each other. His computer printouts were stacked in the usual reverse order, so he noticed the printout about M(4423) being prime before that for M(4253), and it has since been generally accepted that this act of human observation (and actual awareness, i.e. the night janitor happening across the printout and having no idea what it meant would not qualify as such) constitutes discovery, and thus that M(4423) was discovered before M(4253), even though the computer clearly finished the computation on M(4253) first. Following this precedent, the discovery date of the current candidate is December 16th.

But I realize that the Hurwitz instance could have also been decided the other way, especially if the computer printout clearly indicated the date and time of the results, in which the precedent would be the opposite. Perhaps a compromise is in order: for this and future discoveries, give two dates:

1) Date of computation, i.e. when did the computation complete and verifiably write the result to some medium that can be inspected?

2) Date of (human) discovery: when did a person first become aware of the result?
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Old 2005-12-21, 20:27   #9
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So is the first person to be aware of the result the discoverer? What if the night janitor just happened to know what exponentiation and a prime is, so he'd understand the printed message "2^4253-1 is prime"?

Alex
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Old 2005-12-21, 20:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akruppa
So is the first person to be aware of the result the discoverer? What if the night janitor just happened to know what exponentiation and a prime is, so he'd understand the printed message "2^4253-1 is prime"?

Alex
I don't think there's a 'correct' answer to this type of question...it's just who people decide to mention. IMHO, I think George has more of a claim to discovery than any one of us who just ran his software and walked away with our fingers crossed. How is that more worthy of recognition than the janitor of whom you speak?

Drew

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Old 2005-12-21, 23:52   #11
Flatlander
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It's quite mind blowing to think that our votes here can decide when a mathematical truth was 'known', and that this will be a fact for all eternity. Mind-blowing, but I don't suppose it actually matters!

I am going to make some t-shirts "Vote 16th December".
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