Prime numbers have long fascinated amateur and professional mathematicians. An integer greater than one is called a prime number if its only divisors are one and itself. The first prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc. For example, the number 10 is not prime because it is divisible by 2 and 5. A Mersenne prime is a prime of the form 2p-1. The first Mersenne primes are 3, 7, 31, 127, etc. There are only 40 known Mersenne primes.
GIMPS, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, was formed in January 1996 to discover new world-record-size Mersenne primes. GIMPS harnesses the power of thousands of small computers like yours to search for these "needles in a haystack".