There's a fascination among math enthusiasts with discovering prime numbers, and lucky for them, the world will never run out of them. To put that into perspective, the winner of a contest intended to introduce people to the future of complex computing in the cloud discovered a prime number 342,000 digits long. That's an immensely long number, though still nowhere close to the longest prime number ever discovered, which checks in at 17,425,170 digits.
It took five years to discover a prime number larger than the last record holder.
Mathematically speaking, there is an infinite allotment of prime numbers, it's just that finding new ones requires some heavy duty number crunching. Curtis Cooper, a mathematician at the University of Central Missouri, has found three of them through the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), a distributed computing project like Folding@Home and SETI, but with the sole goal of discovering Mersenne prime numbers. Cooper's latest find is 17,425,170 digits long.