A Google employee has broken the world record for calculating the number pi. The calculations were made by March 14, when the day of this mathematical constant is celebrated. Emma Haruka Iwao spent four months working on a project in which she calculated pi to 31.4 trillion digits.
Pi holds a special place in mathematics. It is an irrational number that continues infinitely without repetition and its decimal expansion is not periodic. It is calculated by dividing a circle’s circumference by its diameter.
Iwao made her discovery at Google’s office in Osaka, Japan, where she works as a Google Cloud developer. Fittingly, she used 25 Google Cloud virtual machines to generate the extremely long number. It is the first pi record calculated using the cloud.
The record was certified by Guinness World Records on Wednesday, March 13. The previous record for pi was set by Peter Trueb in 2016, which was 22.4 trillion digits long.
Google announced the record on March 14 (3.14) — Pi Day. The semi-official holiday for the unique number is celebrated by eating pies.
«It was my childhood dream, a longtime dream, to break the world record for pi,» Iwao told CNN Business. She has been working on this since she was 12 years old when she first downloaded software to calculate pi on her personal computer. Iwao said that she had help with the final calculation from Alexander Yee, who created a program called ‘y-cruncher’ to calculate pi and other constants. And her former professor and one time world record holder for pi, Daisuke Takahashi, helped with advice and technical strategies.
All 31,415,926,535,897 digits of her pi calculation are available to anyone who wants to experiment with the data. This shows how far science has come, because in the past, if you wanted to share the longest known version of pi, you had to put it on a hard drive and mail it.
«We keep investing in the cloud and it gets even better over time,» Iwao said. «Hopefully we can do an even bigger computation in the future.»