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Concept# Sieve of Eratosthenes

Summary

In mathematics, the sieve of Eratosthenes is an ancient algorithm for finding all prime numbers up to any given limit.
It does so by iteratively marking as composite (i.e., not prime) the multiples of each prime, starting with the first prime number, 2. The multiples of a given prime are generated as a sequence of numbers starting from that prime, with constant difference between them that is equal to that prime. This is the sieve's key distinction from using trial division to sequentially test each candidate number for divisibility by each prime. Once all the multiples of each discovered prime have been marked as composites, the remaining unmarked numbers are primes.
The earliest known reference to the sieve (κόσκινον Ἐρατοσθένους, kóskinon Eratosthénous) is in Nicomachus of Gerasa's Introduction to Arithmetic, an early 2nd cent. CE book which attributes it to Eratosthenes of Cyrene, a 3rd cent. BCE Greek mathematician, though describing the sieving by odd numbers instead of by primes.
One of a number of prime number sieves, it is one of the most efficient ways to find all of the smaller primes. It may be used to find primes in arithmetic progressions.
Sift the Two's and Sift the Three's:The Sieve of Eratosthenes.When the multiples sublime,The numbers that remain are Prime.
A prime number is a natural number that has exactly two distinct natural number divisors: the number 1 and itself.
To find all the prime numbers less than or equal to a given integer n by Eratosthenes' method:
Create a list of consecutive integers from 2 through n: (2, 3, 4, ..., n).
Initially, let p equal 2, the smallest prime number.
Enumerate the multiples of p by counting in increments of p from 2p to n, and mark them in the list (these will be 2p, 3p, 4p, ...; the p itself should not be marked).
Find the smallest number in the list greater than p that is not marked. If there was no such number, stop. Otherwise, let p now equal this new number (which is the next prime), and repeat from step 3.

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Related concepts (13)

Sieve of Eratosthenes

In mathematics, the sieve of Eratosthenes is an ancient algorithm for finding all prime numbers up to any given limit. It does so by iteratively marking as composite (i.e., not prime) the multiples of each prime, starting with the first prime number, 2. The multiples of a given prime are generated as a sequence of numbers starting from that prime, with constant difference between them that is equal to that prime. This is the sieve's key distinction from using trial division to sequentially test each candidate number for divisibility by each prime.

Sieve theory

Sieve theory is a set of general techniques in number theory, designed to count, or more realistically to estimate the size of, sifted sets of integers. The prototypical example of a sifted set is the set of prime numbers up to some prescribed limit X. Correspondingly, the prototypical example of a sieve is the sieve of Eratosthenes, or the more general Legendre sieve. The direct attack on prime numbers using these methods soon reaches apparently insuperable obstacles, in the way of the accumulation of error terms.

Sieve of Atkin

In mathematics, the sieve of Atkin is a modern algorithm for finding all prime numbers up to a specified integer. Compared with the ancient sieve of Eratosthenes, which marks off multiples of primes, the sieve of Atkin does some preliminary work and then marks off multiples of squares of primes, thus achieving a better theoretical asymptotic complexity. It was created in 2003 by A. O. L. Atkin and Daniel J. Bernstein. In the algorithm: All remainders are modulo-sixty remainders (divide the number by 60 and return the remainder).

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