The greatest secrets in banks, internet security, commerce and governments are protected by codes built on extremely large prime numbers. The reason? To our current knowledge, even all the most powerful computers on the earth joined together would need more than billions of years to find out these prime number “keys” by “brute force”. Brute force here means writing a computer program to run all possibilities according to an assigned rule.
That’s a pretty important function for a number.
In fact, there is a “millennium problem”, where the Clay Mathematics institute offers USD 1 million to those that can solve any one of the 7 millennium problems.
And one of these problems is the Riemann Hypothesis.
It’s an extremely important conjecture about prime numbers that cannot be stated in lay man terms.
Many experts ( mathematicians ) fear that the “proof” or “disproof” of the Riemann hypothesis may bring out an utterly “new” way of finding “extremely large primes”,
cutting short the work needed earlier by brute force.
This more efficient process is feared that it may cut down the workload for identifying these primes ( or cracking the key you may say ), leading to a catastrophic failure in security. This is because by cutting the “brute force” workload, one may get to the “guessing” by a shorter time via a computer script or program based on this “new” way revealed with the proof.
Nevertheless, don’t fear. Its an extreme long-shot that depends on a lot of “if”‘s. In fact, contrary to this mathematical myth, the proof of the Riemann Hypothesis might just be “showing the existence” without shedding any light on the behavior of primes that could be used in the wrong way.
Prime numbers can be found in many other ways describing science. Well, there are 7 colors in a rainbow, etc.