Category Archives: computation

Post without words #24

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The Fermat primality test and the GCD test

In my previous post we proved that if shares a nontrivial common factor with , then , and this in turn proves that is not prime (by Fermat’s Little Theorem). But wait a minute, this is silly: if shares a … Continue reading

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Making the Fermat primality test deterministic

Let’s recall Fermat’s Little Theorem: If is prime and is an integer where , then . Recall that we can turn this directly into a test for primality, called the Fermat primality test, as follows: given some number that we … Continue reading

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Quickly recognizing primes less than 1000: memorizing exceptional composites

In my previous post I wrote about a procedure for testing the primality of any number less than : Test for divisibility by all primes up to , and also . (In practice I test for 2 and 5 first, … Continue reading

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Quickly recognizing primes less than 1000: divisibility tests

I took a little hiatus from writing here since I attended the International Conference on Functional Programming, and since then have been catching up on teaching stuff and writing a bit on my other blog. I gave a talk at … Continue reading

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Quickly recognizing primes less than 100

Recently, Mark Dominus wrote about trying to memorize all the prime numbers under . This is a cool idea, but it made me start thinking about alternative: instead of memorizing primes, could we memorize a procedure for determining whether a … Continue reading

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Primality testing: recap

Whew, this is developing into one of the longest post series I’ve ever written (with quite a few tangents and detours along the way). I thought it would be worth taking a step back for a minute to recap what … Continue reading

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