Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Pi world record calculation broken by Google employee Emma Haruka Iwao

Pi world record calculation broken by Google employee Emma Haruka Iwao

The calculation took about four months and about 170 terabytes of data to complete, according to Google, or "roughly equivalent to the amount of data in the entire Library of Congress print collections".

The previous world record, calculated in November 2016 by Peter Trueb, calculated Pi to around 9-trillion decimal places fewer than the number calculated this year by Google. Emma, who is a Cloud Developer Advocate at Google also put out a blog post on March 14, which is celebrated as Pi Day.

That's a heckuva lot of digits, which she was able to calculate using Google Compute Engine, powered by Google Cloud - the first time the cloud has been used for such serious pi baking.

Emma and Google have shown that Google Cloud computing can be used to solve many complex mathematical problems and this is only the beginning of what is possible.

How has Google used Pi Day to break a Guinness World Record? Calculating the digits of pi is a method of testing supercomputers, as well as a way for mathematicians simply to engage in some friendly competition. So many in fact, that she now proudly holds the Guinness World Record for most calculated digits of pi: 31,415,926,535,897 digits.

Emma Haruka Iwao grew up fascinated by pi.

Pi is the number you get when you divide a circle's circumference by its diameter. This is nearly 9 trillion digits more than the previous world record, which was set in November 2016 by Peter Trueb.

She said she had been using computer programs to calculate pi since she was 12 years old.

Why it matters: This is the first time the Pi record has been set using a commercial cloud service and the first achieved using solid state drives. But the birth of the digital computer in the 20th century supercharged efforts to estimate pi more precisely.

Even with Google's infrastructure on her side, determining trillions of digits was no simple task.

Like this: