Pi calculated to 62.8 trillion digits, setting new world record
Most of us can recall Pi to four or five digits, thanks to high school math, but now a team of Swiss scientists has broken the world record for calculating the mathematical constant. It took three and a half months and a data center’s worth of computer equipment, but the researchers have calculated Pi to a staggering 62.8 trillion digits.
Pi, of course, defines the ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle, coming out to 3.1415926535 and so on, ad infinitum. These decimal places never end, never form a repeating pattern, and their distribution appears to be truly random, making the number useful (besides its importance to geometry) as a benchmarking tool in computing.
Now, researchers from the University of Applied Sciences in Graubünden, Switzerland, have calculated Pi more accurately than ever before – 62.8 trillion digits. That’s a fair leap over the current record of 50 trillion, set by Timothy Mullican in January 2020, and double the previous record of 31.4 trillion set by Google in 2019.
Of course, that’s a lot of numbers to crunch, and the researchers had to make use of a pretty hardcore hardware setup. It took two AMD CPUs with 32 cores each, 1 TB of RAM, and a massive 510 TB of storage space. The Pi digits alone took up 63 TB. All up, it took the team 108 days and nine hours to make the calculation.
There was more behind the challenge than just bragging rights, though. The team says it was an invaluable exercise in testing their computer systems and their own skills, showing that they were ready to handle huge amounts of data in research and development applications. It also highlighted weak points in system infrastructure, such as insufficient backup capacity.
And in case you were wondering, the last 10 newly discovered digits of Pi are 7817924264.