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Mathematics of Computation

Published by the American Mathematical Society since 1960 (published as Mathematical Tables and other Aids to Computation 1943-1959), Mathematics of Computation is devoted to research articles of the highest quality in computational mathematics.

ISSN 1088-6842 (online) ISSN 0025-5718 (print)

The 2020 MCQ for Mathematics of Computation is 1.78.

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Factors of generalized Fermat numbers
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by Anders Björn and Hans Riesel PDF
Math. Comp. 67 (1998), 441-446 Request permission

Erratum: Math. Comp. 74 (2005), 2099-2099.
Erratum: Math. Comp. 80 (2011), 1865-1866.
Supplement: Additional information related to this article.


A search for prime factors of the generalized Fermat numbers $F_n(a,b)=a^{2^n}+b^{2^n}$ has been carried out for all pairs $(a,b)$ with $a,b\leq 12$ and GCD$(a,b)=1$. The search limit $k$ on the factors, which all have the form $p=k\cdot 2^m+1$, was $k=10^9$ for $m\leq 100$ and $k=3\cdot 10^6$ for $101\leq m\leq 1000$. Many larger primes of this form have also been tried as factors of $F_n(a,b)$. Several thousand new factors were found, which are given in our tables.—For the smaller of the numbers, i.e. for $n\leq 15$, or, if $a,b\leq 8$, for $n\leq 16$, the cofactors, after removal of the factors found, were subjected to primality tests, and if composite with $n\leq 11$, searched for larger factors by using the ECM, and in some cases the MPQS, PPMPQS, or SNFS. As a result all numbers with $n\leq 7$ are now completely factored.
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Additional Information
  • Anders Björn
  • Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, Linköping University, S-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
  • Email:
  • Hans Riesel
  • Affiliation: Department of Numerical Analysis and Computing Science, Royal Institute of Technology, S-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
  • Email:
  • Received by editor(s): May 6, 1996
  • Received by editor(s) in revised form: September 19, 1996
  • © Copyright 1998 American Mathematical Society
  • Journal: Math. Comp. 67 (1998), 441-446
  • MSC (1991): Primary 11-04, 11A51, 11Y05, 11Y11
  • DOI:
  • MathSciNet review: 1433262