# Generate a list of primes numbers in Python

This is frequently used as a programming challenge. There are a few ways to do this, but here is one especially interesting way that I've found. For this guide, we'll assume we want a list of all primes under 50.

## First, generate a list of non-primes

Generating a list of non-primes is much simpler than generating a list of primes. To begin, we need to think about what a prime number is. A prime number is one that is only divisible by 1 and itself. Therefore, if we want to generate a list of non-primes under 50 we can do so by generating multiples.

noprimes = set(j for i in range(2, 8) for j in range(i*2, 50, i))

We are using a set in this case because we only want to include each multiple once. The function **range(2, 8)** will generate the numbers 2-7. In this example we are using set comprehension to iterate through the numbers 2 through 7. During each iteration we will use the number to iterate through the range **2i** through 50 with an interval of **i**. Hopefully that isn't too complicated! As an example, the first time we iterate through the outer loop, we generate the number 2. Then we iterate through the inner loop using 2 to produce this range: **range(4, 50, 2)**. This produces: **4, 6, 8, 10, etc** until we hit 50. Each of these numbers will be added to our *noprimes* set. The next time through we generate the number 3. Then in our inner loop we will produce **range(6, 50, 3)** which will add **6, 9, 12, 15, etc** to our *noprimes* set. As you can see, this simply generates multiples. Once we calculate all the multiples through 7 we can be sure that we've generated all of the multiples. Anything 8 or higher will simply duplicate the work we've already done.

## Now generate primes

The second part is easy. Now that we have a list of non-primes, we can use list comprehension to loop through all numbers less than 50. Then we will check to see if each number exists in our *noprimes* set. If it doesn't exist, we can be sure that it is a prime number.

primes = [x for x in range(2, 50) if x not in noprimes]

This will generate our list of prime numbers less than 50!

[2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47]