Prime numbers are incredibly important in a number of fields, from computer science to cybersecurity. But they are incredibly mysterious – they are quite literally enigmas. They have been the subject of thousands of years of research and exploration but they have still not been cracked – we are yet to find a formula that will help generate prime numbers easily.
Prime numbers are particularly integral to modern encryption – when a file is encrypted, the number used to do so is built using two primes. The only way to decrypt it is to work out the prime factors of that gargantuan number, a task which is almost impossible even with the most extensive computing power currently at our disposal. As well as this, prime numbers are also used as error correcting codes and in mass storage and data transmission.
Did you know the Greeks were one of the early champions for our modern encryption systems?
Find out how to generate prime numbers manually using a method devised by the Greek mathematician, Eratothenes, in this fun video from the video course by Packt, Fundamental Algorithms in Scala.