Uses of Prime Numbers
You may be reading through all of
this and wondering what exactly is the point of finding out prime
numbers? Up until the 19th century, there was little use for prime
numbers, and mathematicians calculated them hoping to make some
form of a breakthrough. Calculation of prime numbers was a purely
mathematical endeavor. But, in the 19th century, there was a need
for secrecy, especially during times of war. Messages and files
needed to encoded, so that the enemy couldn’t read them. Encryption
was used, and computers were used to make more complex, harder to
crack codes. It was found that using two prime numbers multiplied
together makes a much better key than any old number, because it
has only four factors. One, itself, and the two primes that it is
a product of. This makes the code much harder to crack. Finally,
after thousands of years, man had a real use for primes, and what
better use than keeping documents and files safe. Prime numbers
can also be used in pseudorandom number generators, and in computer
hash tables. Primes only use is in the computer world, and we still
don’t have any use for primes in the physical world, however
some say that some insects do.
Some
insects will live in the ground for a number of years, and come
out after 13 or 17 years. Both 13 and 17 are prime numbers, and
by emerging at these times, it makes it harder for predators to
adapt and kill the insects, and therefore more of them survive.
One bug that does this is the cicada.
Clipart, 2007.
