National / Science & Health

Google team led by Japanese engineer breaks record by calculating pi to the 31.4 trillionth digit

Kyodo

Google LLC said Thursday that a team led by engineer Emma Haruka Iwao from Japan has broken a Guinness World Record by calculating pi to the 31.4 trillionth digit, around 9 trillion more than the previous record set in 2016.

The accomplishment, announced on the day dubbed “Pi Day” as its first three digits are 3.14, was achieved by using Google Cloud infrastructure, the tech giant said.

Iwao became fascinated with pi, an infinitely long number defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, when she was 12 years old.

“When I was a kid, I downloaded a program to calculate pi on my computer,” she said in a Google blog post.

In college, one of her professors was Daisuke Takahashi of the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, then the record holder for calculating the most accurate value of pi via a supercomputer.

“When I told him I was going to start this project, he shared his advice and some technical strategies with me,” she said.

The groundbreaking calculation required 25 virtual Google Cloud machines, 170 terabytes of data and about 121 days to complete.

“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,” Iwao said.

According to Google, Iwao calculated 31,415,926,535,897 digits, making it the first time the cloud has been used for a pi calculation of this magnitude.