Google Celebrates Pi Day As Employee Calculates New World Record

Pi world record calculation broken by Google employee Emma Haruka Iwao

Enlarge Image Emma Haruka Iwao Twitter

Coming up with the figure used about 170TB of data and took 121 days to complete.

The 31.4 trillion digits have been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most accurate value of pi after breezing past the record of 22.4 trillion digits set by Peter Tueb in November 2016. Google announced her accomplishment on March 14, which just so happens to be pi day.

"The biggest challenge with pi is that it requires a lot of storage and memory to calculate", says Iwao, whose calculation required 170 terabytes of data to complete, about the same amount of data as the Library of Congress' print collections hold.

This feat was achieved by Emma Haruka Iwao, a Cloud Developer Advocate at Google. But since it's an irrational number, "there's no end to how many of its digits can be calculated". 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. In addition to reaching such a high calculation, this is also the first time the world record was broken using the cloud.

Iwao said in the announcement that's she's been fascinated with pi since she was 12- and never imagined breaking the Guinness World Record.

Pi is the number you get when you divide a circle's circumference by its diameter.

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.

Emma said: "When I was a kid, I didn't have access to supercomputers".

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. It's an important foundation of mathematics, most importantly in geometry, physics and engineering. The semi-official holiday for the unique number is celebrated by eating actual pies.

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