7
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113257 contains the first 6 primes as sub-strings when reading them from left to right:

2: 113257

3: 113257

5: 113257

7: 113257

11: 113257

13: 113257

What is the smallest number that contains the first 11 primes as sub-strings?

Good luck!

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh no a negative vote? Please tell me why so I can improve my questions. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Sep 23 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ Should the no-computers tag be added? $\endgroup$ – Zoir Sep 23 at 3:10
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps we could come up with a name for the sequence of numbers, where the nth number is the smallest number containing the first n primes as substrings. I wonder if this sequence has any interesting properties or methods of going from the nth to the n+1th element $\endgroup$ – Cruncher Sep 23 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ I think that this is cheating. @Cruncher $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Sep 23 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Heh, of course the sequence already exists $\endgroup$ – Cruncher Sep 23 at 16:48
13
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Given the first 11 primes:

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31

We can observe that:

  • We'll always get 2, 3 and 7 for "free" (via other numbers, such as 23 and 17, etc), so they can be ignored leaving only 5 to be explicitly included
  • Of the double digit numbers it is possible to get either 13 and 31 for free (using 11 + 31 or [1/2]3 + 1[1/7/9]), but not both
  • After doing the above, we can overlap one more teen at the end of some of the configurations (1131[7/9] or [1/2]311[7/9])
  • The remaining five double digit numbers have to just be included as is, with no overlap

Therefore, our final number needs to be 5x2 (remaining double digits) + 1 (overlapped teen) + 1 (remaining 5) = 12 digits long.

Arranging things from smallest to largest, I believe that the smallest number containing the first 11 primes is:

113,171,923,295

Or for completeness:

2: 113,171,923,295
3: 113,171,923,295
5: 113,171,923,295
7: 113,171,923,295
11: 113,171,923,295
13: 113,171,923,295
17: 113,171,923,295
19: 113,171,923,295
23: 113,171,923,295
29: 113,171,923,295
31: 113,171,923,295

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice!! Think you got me! $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Sep 23 at 2:49
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    $\begingroup$ Now I want to ask what's the smallest prime containing the first 11 primes as substrings. But maybe there's no easy way to solve that :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 23 at 11:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor - Interesting question... I have discovered a truly remarkable proof that the number is bigger than the one above, but this margin is too small to contain it. ;) $\endgroup$ – Alconja Sep 23 at 11:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Gloweye - 7 never did deserve prime status. Overrated digit if you ask me. ;) (Thanks, fixed) $\endgroup$ – Alconja Sep 23 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor 11317192329511 is prime, but don't know if you can get smaller one. $\endgroup$ – Paul Evans Sep 23 at 14:29
2
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113171923295 (12 digits)

.......2_
..3_
...........5
....7_
11_
.13_
...17_
.....19_
.......23_
.........29_
..31_

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0
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Primes are

2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23 29 31. We can combine 2, 3, and 23; 17 and 7. If we stick 23 and 19 next to each other we can get 31. To minimize, we will use the smallest first digits, as much as possible: 11, then 13. We will then need a 19 and 29 at the end, followed by the final 5. There are a maximum of 18 digits in the number; since the 2, 3, and 7 are combined this is 15 digits. The second 1 in the 11 and the 31 can be shared with the first 1 in either 13, 17, 19, so this reduces by 2 digits. The first digit in the 31 can be shared by the last 3 in the 13 or 23, so this reduces by another digit. I think this means that the minimum number of digits to accomplish everything is 12, so hopefully my number below works.

So potentially we could have

113172319295, which yields
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295
113172319295

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0
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A nice algorithm to generate the series

The first 11 prime numbers are

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31

Sorting them lexicographically we get

11, 13, 17, 19, 2, 23, 29, 3, 31, 5, 7

or as a single number

111317192232933157

Step-1 Remove all repetitive numbers (not digits) (highlighted in bold)

111317192232933157

113171923293157

Step-2 Traversing from left to right, remove any numbers from the first 11 primes already seen

  ┌─────────┐         
  ↓         ↓
11317192329 31 5 7
    ↑            ↑
    └────────────┘

Step-3. Verify.

2: 113171923295 3: 113171923295
5: 113171923295
7: 113171923295 11: 113171923295
13: 113171923295 17: 113171923295
19: 113171923295
23: 113171923295
29: 113171923295
31: 113171923295

Answer

113171923295

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  • $\begingroup$ While this is a very attractive approach, I don't see why it must generate the smallest example in general. Perhaps starting with a different order yields more numbers that can be removed from fortunate coincidences. $\endgroup$ – Greg Martin Sep 23 at 22:18

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