Generating Prime Numbers in JavaScript

Enumerating prime numers is very important in the fields of mathematics and computer science. There are several algorithms to do this and they can be easily implemented in JavaScript.

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Algorithms for Generating Prime Numbers #

There are several algorithms for generating prime numbers. Some of the most common and efficient ones include:

  1. Trial Division: This is the simplest method to find prime numbers. It involves dividing the number to be checked by all numbers less than it to see if any of them evenly divide it. If none do, the number is prime. However, this method is slow for very large numbers.

  2. Sieve of Eratosthenes: This is an ancient and efficient algorithm for generating prime numbers up to a specified limit, not for finding individual primes. It works by iteratively marking the multiples of each prime starting from 2, which eventually leaves only the prime numbers as unmarked.

  3. Sieve of Sundaram: This is another sieve algorithm that generates prime numbers up to a specified limit. It is more memory-efficient than the Sieve of Eratosthenes but slightly slower.

  4. Sieve of Atkin: This sieve algorithm is optimized for generating prime numbers up to a specified limit and is more efficient than the Sieve of Eratosthenes for larger limits.

  5. Miller-Rabin Primality Test: This is a probabilistic primality test rather than a prime generation algorithm. It’s used to test whether a given number is prime or not. It’s efficient and often used in combination with other algorithms to generate large prime numbers.

  6. AKS Primality Test: The AKS primality test is a deterministic polynomial-time algorithm to determine if a number is prime or composite. It’s not typically used for prime generation but is worth mentioning for its theoretical significance.

  7. Randomized Primality Tests: Algorithms like Fermat’s Primality Test and Solovay-Strassen Primality Test are probabilistic algorithms that can be used to generate large probable prime numbers. They are not guaranteed to produce prime numbers, but they are fast and often sufficient for many applications.

  8. Prime Number Generation with Probabilistic Algorithms: There are probabilistic algorithms that generate large prime numbers by randomly selecting numbers and testing them for primality using one of the aforementioned primality tests.

  9. Prime Number Generation with Special Forms: Some prime number generation algorithms focus on specific forms of primes, such as Mersenne primes (2^n - 1), Fermat primes (2^(2^n) + 1), and others. These forms have special properties that make them easier to generate and test for primality.

The choice of algorithm depends on the specific requirements of your application. If you need to generate a large number of primes up to a limit, sieves like Eratosthenes or Atkin are efficient. If you need to find individual large prime numbers, probabilistic methods like Miller-Rabin or specialized forms may be more suitable. For deterministic primality testing, AKS is an option, but it’s not commonly used for practical purposes due to its complexity.

Implementation in JavaScript #

JavaScript is a versatile and popular programming language, and many prime number generation algorithms can be implemented in it. Here are some prime number generation algorithms that are relatively easy to implement in JavaScript:

  1. Trial Division: This is the simplest prime-checking algorithm and is relatively easy to implement in JavaScript. You can loop through all numbers less than the given number and check for divisibility.

     function isPrime(n)
         if (n <= 1) return false;
         if (n <= 3) return true;
         if (n % 2 === 0 || n % 3 === 0) return false;
         for (let i = 5; i * i <= n; i += 6) {
         if (n % i === 0 || n % (i + 2) === 0) return false;
         return true;
  2. Sieve of Eratosthenes: Implementing the Sieve of Eratosthenes in JavaScript is relatively straightforward. You create an array to mark off multiples of primes.

     function sieveOfEratosthenes(n)
       const primes = [];
       const sieve = new Array(n + 1).fill(true);
       for (let p = 2; p * p <= n; p++) {
         if (sieve[p]) {
           for (let i = p * p; i <= n; i += p) {
             sieve[i] = false;
       for (let i = 2; i <= n; i++) {
         if (sieve[i]) {
       return primes;
  3. Sieve of Sundaram:
    • The Sieve of Sundaram can also be implemented in JavaScript with ease. It marks off numbers of the form i + j + 2ij where i, j, and i + j + 2ij are less than or equal to n.
  4. Miller-Rabin Primality Test:
    • Implementing the Miller-Rabin test in JavaScript is possible, although it requires some modular arithmetic. Libraries like big-integer can simplify working with large numbers.
  5. Randomized Primality Tests:
    • Probabilistic algorithms like Fermat’s Primality Test or Solovay-Strassen can be implemented in JavaScript without too much difficulty.
  6. Prime Number Generation with Special Forms:
    • Generating specific forms of primes, like Mersenne or Fermat primes, can also be done in JavaScript by implementing the relevant mathematical formulas.

The choice of algorithm depends on your specific requirements and the size of primes you need to generate. For relatively small primes, trial division or the Sieve of Eratosthenes are easy to implement and efficient. For larger primes, you might consider probabilistic algorithms or specialized forms, but they require more advanced mathematics and careful implementation due to the potential for false positives.