Japanese woman breaks pi calculation world record, to 31 trillion digits

17 replies, posted

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47524760
The value of the number pi has been calculated to a new world record length of 31 trillion digits, far past the previous record of 22 trillion. Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee from
Japan, found the new digits with the help of the company's cloud computing service.
The pursuit of longer versions of pi is a long-standing pastime among mathematicians. And Ms Iwao said she had been fascinated by the number since she had been a child.
The calculation required 170TB of data (for comparison, 200,000 music tracks take up 1TB) and took 25 virtual machines 121 days to complete.
Google announced the news in a blog on Pi Day

I understand this isn't the point of these calculations, but is there any actual application of knowing pi to this level of precision? I'm interested if there's some use for this.

32 is pretty much the most you'd need for any kind of calculation based on our current understanding of physics. I imagine anything much beyond that is reaching the point where the margin of error is smaller than a Planck length.

Pi is a number whose decimals keep going but never repeat. It is somewhat a mathematician's dream to find the end of Pi.

There is no end of Pi, that's not the dream because irrational numbers don't have ends...

What a cool and important mathematical interest to have! Glad the attempt was successful.

Does this mean more circular circles? P sure my math teacher said something like that to me

It's mostly for the sake of the computation, creating more powerful computers and developing better algorithms. There's also some interest in studying the distribution of digits

In a theoretical sense... sure? In a practical sense for literally anyone from students like yourself up to mathematicians and physicists its not of great significance (hehe pun), as others have said its more of a computational benchmark.

IIRC calculating the digits of pi is just iterating a fourier series an exceptionally large amount of times - this is more an achievement of endurance ( or how long you can keep a computer on in the background ) versus anything of actual scientific value

Kiiiinda sounds like Google did it...
The actual software to figure it out, IIRC, isn't very complex or changing frequently. It's just how long you run it and the computing power you provide it.

Google cloud services computes pi world record*
"I am still trying to adjust to the reality. The world record has been really hard."
But she still hopes to expand on her work.
"There is no end with pi, I would love to try with more digits," she told BBC News.

So uh, how does one verify the authenticity of all 31 trillion digits if no one else has calculated it that far before?

Well you can't verify all of them without calculating it obviously, but you can calculate a specific digit and see if it matches
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailey%E2%80%93Borwein%E2%80%93Plouffe_formula

Couldn't I just use this to calculate the next digit of pi and then break the record again?

The software, as I understand, uses this algorithm, exponentially, to gather the sequence for these digits in a Pi number, which is THE feat in here.
Imagine you are in a postal warehouse and have to sort a record number of 100 parcels in a specific order. What you are talking about is simply ordering parcel #100 in its correct place.

But I'd still have computed pi to longer than anyone else had.
Kind of sounds like this big achievement is just "for every number in the range of numbers this compute worker is computing, iterate through and generate them all."
Literally the only impressive part of that is Google's cloud. This is an advertisement for Google.

This is an advertisement for Google.
Yeah, the fact that this news was published on Pi day really highlights that.

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