Over at /r/math, Darksteve writes of “A problem I came up with, and haven’t been able to solve for many years:”

I would like to present a mathematical problem that I came up with some years ago, and haven’t yet found a solution for:

If you take all the numbers that contain the digits 1 to 9 exactly once, and you write down the prime factorization of all those numbers, which one has the smallest biggest prime factor?

To illustrate what I mean, the number 879456123 contains the prime factors 3 7 13 and 491; making 491 this numbers biggest prime factor.

The number 213456789 contains 3 7 13 and 197 as factors, making 197 the biggest prime factor. Out of all the numbers I’ve tried, 213456789 has the smallest biggest prime factor.

Many other number have much bigger biggest prime factors, like 576492813 which contains 3 13 19 and 13649.

But I have not found a way to actually solve this problem, as I am lacking the programming skills, or the algebraic knowledge required. I would therefore greatly appreciate anyone capable of solving this.

Your task is to solve Darksteve’s problem. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.

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