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Pi dream: Google employee sets record for most digits calculated

Celebrate Pi Day with trillions of new pi digits.

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Googler Emma Haraku Iwao took her fascination with pi all the way to 31.4 trillion digits.

Google

When I think of pi, I think of three digits: 3.14. Google cloud developer advocate Emma Haruka Iwao thinks in terms of trillions of pi digits. Haruka Iwao set a world record by calculating pi to 31.4 trillion digits using Google cloud technology.

Here's the full mind-boggling number: 31,415,926,535,897 digits. The previous record, set by Peter Trueb in late 2016, was 22.4 trillion digits

Since she was 12, Haruka Iwao has been fascinated by pi, the enigmatic mathematical constant defined as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. As a kid, she even downloaded a computer program to calculate pi. Her present-day Google project put that childhood interest on steroids.

Haruka Iwao ran the calculations using the y-cruncher application running on 25 Google Cloud virtual machines. 

"The biggest challenge with pi is that it requires a lot of storage and memory to calculate," Haruka Iwao said. It took 121 days for Google's virtual machines to reach the magic number.

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The previous pi record held the digits title for over two years, but there will always be more digits left to go.

"In terms of how long this record might stand, we can't predict the future. But now that it's been calculated with the cloud, the sky's the limit," a Google spokesperson said. 

If you want to peruse the fruits of the pi triumph, Google Cloud has published the digits as disk snapshots, along with technical details on the accomplishment. It's the perfect reading material for Pi Day.