Google employee breaks record, calculates 31.4 trillion digits of Pi

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An advocate who helps developers use cloud products, Iwao used more than two dozen virtual machines to churn away at the calculation, which took about 121 days to complete.

A member of Google's staff has broken the world record for calculating Pi to the highest number of digits - at 31 trillion.

March 14 was chosen as the global day of celebration because 3.14 translates to 3/14/YEAR in the American calendar.

To calculate pi, Iwao used an application, y-cruncher, on 25 Google Cloud virtual machines. During the entire time it took for calculations, the Google Cloud server were kept switched on to avoid any interruptions.

"It was my childhood dream, a longtime dream, to break the world record for pi", Iwao said.

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Mathematician James Grime says that just 39 digits of pi is enough to calculate the circumference of the known universe, and NASA's Jet Propulsion lab only uses 15 digits to calculate interplanetary travel. It is significantly used in geometrical calculations.

Supercomputers are often tasked with calculating the number to more digits - the previous record, set in November 2016 by Peter Trueb, is 22 trillion digits.

She has been working toward this moment since she was 12, when she first downloaded software to calculate pi on her personal computer. The interesting thing about Pi is that it's value is infinite in length.

This year marks the 31st anniversary of Pi Day, which is believed to be celebrated first by physicist Larry Shawand and his peers at the Exploratorium in San Francisco in 1988. "I was very fortunate that there were Japanese world record holders that I could relate to", Iwao said in the blog post.

"I'm really happy to be one of the few women in computer science holding the record, and I hope I can show more people who want to work in the industry what's possible", she said.

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