Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

A Google employee broke the world record for calculating pi

A Google employee broke the world record for calculating pi

The calculation required 140TB of data, and took about 121 days to complete.

They made their announcement today, on Pi day which falls on March 14th, or 3.14, the United States format of the date, in its most basic form.

Iwao and a Google team computed Pi to 31.4 trillion decimal places or Pi multiplied by 10 to the 13th power, ousting the previous record set in 2016 of 22.4 trillion digits.

Emma and Google have shown that Google Cloud computing can be used to solve many complex mathematical problems and this is only the beginning of what is possible.

On her Tiwtter, Iwao describes herself as: "Neutral Good with Lawful Evil traits / Developer Advocate for Google Cloud Platform / Software engineer, gamer, queer, and feminist".

Here's the full mind-boggling number: 31,415,926,535,897 digits.

Why it matters: This is the first time the Pi record has been set using a commercial cloud service and the first achieved using solid state drives.

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Emma Haruka Iwao grew up fascinated by pi. Pi is used in engineering, physics, supercomputing and space exploration - because its value can be used in calculations for waves, circles and cylinders.

She said she had been using computer programs to calculate pi since she was 12 years old.

In mathematics pi is the ratio of a circle's radius to its circumference, has far more digits that continue infinitely without repetition.

"Pi seems simple - it starts with 3.14", she says. It's the flawless reading material for Pi Day.

"I feel very surprised", Iwao told BBC of breaking the world record.

Typically, such calculations have been done on a single machine or "virtual machine" because of the difficulty for passing information back and forth over the network when using multiple machines working together.

Iwao knew about Takahashi when she was a kid, she says, because he held the world record at the time, along with Japanese mathematician Yasumasa Kanada.

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