Google employee Emma Haruka Iwao has absolutely smashed the previous world record for calculating Pi by adding almost nine trillion more digits.
The previous world record was for 22 trillion digits by Peter Trueb, using a program called Y Cruncher that was also used by multiple former world record holders.
This time, Iwao used Google’s cloud computing service to crunch the required 170 terabytes of data, which took 25 virtual machines about four months to get through.
31.4 trillion: the number of π digits calculated.
Congratulations to @Yuryu, who set the new world record, calculating almost 9 trillion more digits than the previous world record using Compute Engine VM clusters → https://t.co/j9Hwh4r1YL#PiDaypic.twitter.com/OzwYaXCjYL
— Google Cloud Platform (@GCPcloud) March 14, 2019
Pi, for people who’ve been out of school for long enough to forget, is the number given when you divide a circle’s circumference (length around the outside) by its diameter (length across the middle). The numbers don’t follow a pattern, so figuring them out has become a pastime for maths types with too much time or brainpower on their hands.
Iwao told the BBC:
“I feel very surprised. I am still trying to adjust to the reality. The world record has been really hard.
There is no end with pi, I would love to try with more digits.”
The world record for manually calculating pi is held by British mathematician William Shanks, who managed 527 digits without a computer.
Main image: fdecomite via Flickr CC