The Prime Challenge: Amazing Deep Zoom Image


The biggest prime number ever discovered is over 17 million decimal digits long. It’s equal to having 1,584,106 contacts in your phone's address book. That’s a lot of digits, but with this amazing deep zoom graphic ( from Shoothill ( you can see them all.


Click to view the DeepZoom

The Deep Zoom created using Shoothill’s Megafiche® technology, highlights the sheer scale of this prime number, which if it were to be printed out to scale, would take 6 acres of paper. Inside the Deep Zoom experience itself you can use the zoom controls, to see when each of the previous record-breaking prime numbers were discovered as well as relating the advances that have been made over the years.

Shoothill Managing Director, Rod Plummer: “It’s amazing to use the zoom to see numbers come into focus and realise the scale of the original number and the leaps and bounds that mathematicians have made. The challenge for us was how to represent a number this huge and make it meaningful for people, but we think we’ve cracked it and hopefully we will inspire a few more mathematicians to add to our collective knowledge and find some of those lost primes

The Prime Challenge

Shoothill made this deep zoom image to help The Prime Challenge (, which I blogged about last week, to highlight the huge gaps in the number space that are yet to be explored.

The focus of the Prime Challenge is to use cloud-computing to find the “lost primes”; those prime numbers that have remained undiscovered in the race to always find the biggest prime. It is hoped that The Prime Challenge will also help to re-awaken interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects - a skillset that is becoming scarcer.

The image is an amazing representation of the sheer size of the largest ever discovered prime number. But it also shows a lot of gaps in the number space. We don’t know if there are more primes in there, although we suspect so. We’re challenging people to find them.”

The Prime Challenge is open to all and everyone is encouraged to try and find a “lost prime.” To enter the challenge, visit and follow the instructions online.


Shoothill are one of the UK’s leading software development and data visualisation specialists, creating award-winning, bespoke solutions and bringing data and content to life through rich, interactive applications across many different industries in both the public and private sectors.

Planky  ---  @plankytronixx

Comments (0)

Skip to main content