Today is 14 March, also known as Pi Day (due to being written as 3/14 in the United States). Rather than contenting herself with a slice of fruit in pastry, Google employee Emma Haruka Iwao has used the company’s cloud computing technology to set a new record for calculating the value of pi.
Calculating it is a common task for supercomputers, and developer advocate Iwao used Google Cloud to calculate it to 31,415,926,535,897 digits.
To calculate the number, Iwao used an application called y-cruncher on 25 Google Cloud virtual machines. The calculation required 140TB of data, and took about 121 days to complete.
A recipe for success
As a developer advocate, Iwao works with developers to help them get more from Google’s cloud computing services – but she says the pi calculation was particularly important to her.
“Pi seems simple – it starts with 3.14,” she says. “When I was a kid, I downloaded a program to calculate pi on my computer. At the time, the world record holders were Yasumasa Kanada and Daisuke Takahashi, who are Japanese, so it was really relatable for me growing up in Japan.”
Google has made the digits available as disk snapshots for anyone to use (without having to fill multiple drives in the process).