Google is celebrating Pi Day with an impressive achievement. It has leveraged its cloud services to help calculate Pi to 31.4 trillion digits – the most ever achieved, breaking the previous record of (roughly) 22.5 trillion digits.
Pi day, for the uninitiated, takes place on March 14, or 3.14…the first three digits of Pi, the ratio of a circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is, of course, an irrational number so it can never be fully calculated because it is infinite in length.
The work was done by Google employee Emma Haruka Iwao who used Google Cloud and the company’s Compute Engine to calculate Pi to 31,415,926,535,897 digits. Cloud services are a pretty good place to perform calculations like this because they can make use of multiple machines and massive shared storage.
That’s important because it took 170 terabytes of data to complete the task, which Google says is about the same amount of information as is stored in the Library of Congress. Because all this data is stored in the cloud Google is also letting people download the computed sequence as a disk image for them to use as they please.
The calculation was done using a program called y-cruncher and it ran across 25 virtual machines. It took those machines 121 days to finish their work and, of course, it’s important that those computers didn’t suffer any downtime or failures because that would have disrupted the calculation.
….you apparently only need 39 digits of Pi to calculate the entire circumference of the universe (if contained in a circle) to within the radius of one hydrogen atom.
I did a quick mental check of the first 15 trillion digits of googles calculation – everything checked out – so i’ll assume that the remaining digits are probably correct too. I’ll recalculate everything tonite, and let you know of any discrepancies by google.
The other posters on debatez have had big influence on my ability to handle such a huge long irrational sequence of digits – being exposed to their delusions parallels that immense calculated sum ( never-ending ).
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