Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mathematicians Discover The Largest Number

From iowahawk:

PALO ALTO, CA - An international mathematics research team announced today that they had discovered a new integer that surpasses any previously known value ... Project director Yujin Xiao of Stanford University said the theoretical number, dubbed a "stimulus," could lead to breakthroughs in fields as diverse as astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and Chicago asphalt contracting.

"Unlike previous large numbers like the Googleplex or the Bazillionty, the Stimulus has no static numerical definition," said Xiao. "It keeps growing and growing, compounding factorially, eating up all zeros in its path. It moves freely across Cartesian dimensions and has the power to make any other number irrational."

Jean-Luc Brossard, a researcher with the European consortium CERN, said the number is so staggeringly large that it is difficult for even mathematicians to grasp, let alone lay people.

"The number itself is incomprehensible by human minds, and can only be theoretically understood in a fractional parallel universe which we refer to as the DC dimension," said Brossard. "The best way to understand a stimulus is to imagine a dollar sign followed by a packed string of hexidecimal nanodigits, wound into a triple helix, woven into a dodecahedron, and stacked on top of one another. ...

Xiao said the team discovered the number with the help of an international network of 24 nitrogen-cooled Cray Ultracluster supercomputers, the CERN particle accelerator, and "three pounds of Humboldt County Chronic."

"The exciting news is that with more powerful computers and drugs, we believe we are on the verge of discovering an even larger number, which we refer to as a 'stimulusconferencebill,'" said Xiao. "Speaker Pelosi has already promised us the funding."

(H/T David A.)

Actually - all fun aside - here is some real information about the stimulus/spending/pork bill.