Guest_Jim_* - November 13, 2012 03:50PM in Science & Technology

Prime numbers have been a curiosity of mathematics for about as long as they have been known to exist. The reason for this is that although the concept of a prime is simple finding and predicting them is very difficult. One function that could be used to discover them has now been brought a step closer to being understood, as published through the University of Leicester.

The published paper examines the potential of using the zeroes of the famed Riemann Zeta Function to determine the divisors of all natural numbers and a new method to test this. This would be a truly impressive accomplishment as this problem has existed for over a hundred years and appears on multiple lists of unsolved mathematical problems. In fact, one mathematician who compiled such a list commented that if he were to sleep 1000 years, he would ask upon waking up, if the Riemann hypothesis had been proven. Unfortunately, it is possible that even after those thousand years, we would not have a solution, but with supercomputers, we are getting closer, more or less.

This problem is not the kind that can be proven by a supercomputer's computations, but it can be disproven by finding an inconsistency. That paper presents evidence of a new method for running those computations, which may lead to the information needed to prove the theory.