Google employee breaks pi world record using cloud computing


Do you remember pi?

Google is celebrating with a record-breaking feat: One of its employees calculated pi to 31 trillion digits, 9 trillion more than the previous record, with help from cloud computing, reports the BBC.

Coming up with the figure used about 170TB of data and took 121 days to complete. These were run in December and took 20 and 28 hours respectively.

According to Google, Iwao calculated 31,415,926,535,897 digits, making it the first time the cloud has been used for a pi calculation of this magnitude. Researchers who wanted to peer into a data set that large used to have to ship physical hard drives to one another, but now they can access the company's results remotely.

March 14 was chosen as the worldwide day of celebration because 3.14 translates to 3/14/YEAR in the American calendar. This is nearly 9 trillion digits more than the previous world record, which was set in November 2016 by Peter Trueb. At this point I couldn't make out the "for what" bit of the sentence.

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The mathematical constant pi has fascinated math lovers since the day of its discovery. In How many digits of pi do we really need? "If a circle's diameter is 1, then its circumference is π".

Mathematicians have been able to calculate 40 digits of pi since the 1700s. 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. This calculation was achieved with Google's Compute Engine virtual machine cluster.

She used 25 Google cloud virtual machines to generate the number, and says this was a childhood dream of hers.

Running in the cloud also let us publish the computed digits entirely as disk snapshots. "But even if you don't work for Google, you can apply for various scholarships and programs to access computing resources", she says.