Pi dream: Googler sets record for most digits calculated

Gladys Abbott
March 15, 2019

Iwao's calculation took 121 days to finish and needed 25 virtual machines.

Iwao's calculation set a new Guinness World Record.

Google Cloud is the world champion for Pi calculation, announced today, Pi Day, aka March 14th, or 3.14 2019. When she later told him about her own attempt to calculate the digits of pi, "he shared his advice and some technical strategies", she said in a Google blog post. But since it's an irrational number, "there's no end to how many of its digits can be calculated".

Iwao did her number crunching primarily from Google's office in Osaka, Japan, where she works at as a developer and advocate for Google Cloud. This calculation calculated Pi (π) to 31.4 trillion decimal places - that's 31,415,926,535,897 decimal places, beating the previous record by a significant margin.

An application called y-cruncher was used to calculate pi, the same used by the previous record holders since 2010, but this is the first time that cloud computing was used.

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Iwao said she has been fascinated with pi since she was 12, writes Google.

Pi was first estimated thousands of years ago, and by the mid-20th century, mathematicians had calculated about 1,000 digits of the number, using a gear-driven calculator. When I was a kid, I downloaded a program to calculate pi on my computer, ' Emma said.

If there's a more exciting math concept than pi, then we've not heard of it.

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). By 2009, Daisuke Takahashi at the University of Tsukuba was calculating about 2.6 trillion digits of pi with a supercomputer. No word yet on whether she will be celebrating her achievement the American way - by eating actual pie.

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