Google Employee Smashes World Record for Calculating Pi


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Emma Haruka Iwao, the Google employee who broke the world record for calculating pi. (Photo Credit: Google)

Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee, just broke the world record for calculating the value of pi.

On Thursday, Google announced the accomplishment in a blog post, and said that Iwao’s team smashed the Guinness World Records title for the most accurate value of pi. With Google Compute Engine, which is powered by Google Cloud, Iwao calculated pi to 31,415,926,535,897 digits, marking a major milestone in mathematics.

To calculate pi, Iwao used an application, y-cruncher, on 25 Google Cloud virtual machines. This wasn’t an easy task though, since it required a lot of memory and storage. Iwao’s calculation required 170 terabytes of data to complete, which is approximately equivalent to all the Library of Congress print collections’ data. It also took the virtual machines about 121 days to complete, while the Google Cloud infrastructure keeping the servers going without any technical hiccups.

Iwao emphasized the importance of cloud computing, and how it can be used to solve complicated mathematical constants, such as pi. “Even if you don’t work for Google, you can apply for various scholarships and programs to access computing resources. 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.”

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