On this Pi Day, Google employee breaks World Record by calculating Pi

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pi day
Image Credits: CNN

A Google employee has broken a world record for calculating pi today, which is also celebrated as the Pi Day because some bright people saw the way Americans write their dates and connected it to the first three digits of Pi i.e. 3.14.

Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee, calculated 31,415,926,535,897 digits of pi, setting a world record. Certified by Guinness World Records on Wednesday, Emma was made the third woman set a world record for calculating the number. She has been working towards this moment since the age of 12 when she first downloaded software to calculate pi on her personal computer.

A Little bit about Pi

Pi Day
Image Credits: Sporcle

Pi is the mathematical constant that’s been around for 4000 almost years. It is used to find the ratio of the length of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Since it is constant, the value always remains the same- no matter how big or small the circle is. William Jones was the first mathematician to use ‘π’ to denote the constant ratio. But it wasn’t until 1737 that physicist and mathematician Leonhard Euler popularized the use of the symbol.  The first three digits are the most famous but in reality, Pi is infinite. It has been calculated over a quadrillion decimal places with no pattern emerging. It can’t be written as a fraction, making it an irrational number. The famous Pi sign is written to indicate its presence in calculations (π)

As explained on the official Pi day website: ‘Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math and to eat a pie.’

Emma Haruka Iwao spent four months working on a project in which she calculated pi to 31.4 trillion digits. Pi is the mathematical constant that’s been around for 4000 almost years. It is used to find the ratio of the length of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Since it is constant, the value always remains the same- no matter how big or small the circle is. The first three digits are the most famous but in reality, Pi is infinite. It has been calculated over a quadrillion decimal places with no pattern emerging

Iwao did her number crunching mainly from Google’s office in Osaka, Japan, where she works as a developer and advocate for Google Cloud. Suitably, she used 25 Google Cloud virtual machines to generate the enormously long number. It’s the first pi record calculated on the cloud.

Iwao said she had help with the concluding calculation from Alexander Yee, who invented a program called “y-cruncher” for computing pi and other constants. Her former professor and one-time world record holder for pi, Daisuke Takahashi, helped her with advice and technical strategies.

Emma’s new record demonstrates how far Google’s cloud computing technology has come.

Did you know?

  • Albert Einstein was born on Pi day.
  • One of the earliest known records of Pi was written by an Egyptian scribe named ‘Ahmes’  on what is now known as the Rhind Papyrus.
  • Pi is also denoted as the circular constant, Archimedes’ constant, or Ludolph’s number.
  • The semi-official holiday for the unique number is celebrated by eating actual pies.

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