This Pi Day Comes With a World Record

Darnell Taylor
March 15, 2019

An application called y-cruncher was used to calculate pi, the same used by the previous record holders since 2010, but this is the first time that cloud computing was used.

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

In the end, Emma's calculation took the virtual machines about 121 days to complete.

Her milestone was certified by Guinness World Records on Wednesday, making her the third woman to set a world record for calculating the number. Saying the value of an irrational and transcendental number is quite a popular thing to do on Pi Day.

"The biggest challenge with pi is that it requires a lot of storage and memory to calculate", Haruka Iwao said.

In mathematics pi, represented as the symbol "π", is the ratio of a circle's radius to its circumference and has far more digits than 3,14, which continue infinitely.

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Emma Haruka Iwao spent four months working on the project in which she calculated pi to 31.4 trillion digits.

Even with Google's infrastructure on her side, determining trillions of digits was no simple task.

Iwao did her number crunching primarily from Google's office in Osaka, Japan, where she works at as a developer and advocate for Google Cloud.

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. Pi is used in engineering, physics, supercomputing and space exploration - because its value can be used in calculations for waves, circles and cylinders.

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.

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. For normal calculations, only a few digits are used.

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