Google succeeded in a hussar trick: calculated Ludolf’s number (π) to one hundred trillion decimal places and set a new world record. It should be noted that this is not the first time that Google has reached the top of the rankings – in 2019, its employee Emma Haruka Iwao, using Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud, calculated this mathematical constant to the nearest 31 trillion digits.
The record was broken two years later by Swiss researchers from the Center for Data Analysis, Visualization and Simulation (DAViS) at the University of Applied Sciences in Graubuenden. They used a supercomputer to calculate the value of π to 62.8 trillion decimal places.
The record returns to Google
As before, Google used a y-cruncher tool to perform the calculations. The calculation was in progress on 128 virtual processors and 864 GB of RAM. The program ran a total of 157 days, 23 hours, 31 minutes and 7.651 seconds, reading 43.5 PB of data and recording 38.5 PB during the activity.
After completing the calculation, the resulting numbers were verified by another algorithm (specifically, it was used Bailey-Borwein-Plouffe formula). Verification was the most exciting moment of the whole process, because it is uncertain whether the calculation was successful until it was completed. Fortunately, the inspection confirmed the validity of the result.
“This is the second time we have calculated using Google Cloud record number of digits of the mathematical constanttripling the number of digits in just three years. “ Iwao boasted. Interesting fact: the last hundred calculated digits are: 4658718895 1242883556 4671544483 9873493812 1206904813 2656719174 5255431487 2142102057 7077336434 3095295560.
π to 100 trillion decimal places
Emma Haruka Iwao said the developers used Terraform to create and manage the cluster. They also created a program that runs a y-cruncher with various parameters and automates much of the measurement. After all these adjustments, the program was running approximately twice as fast.
Wondering what it’s like to compete in calculating a mathematical constant to as many decimal places as possible? According to Iwao, these calculations can be used as a benchmark for mapping the progress of computing power over time. “Records are from being overcome.” stated on the blog. In this particular case, it also demonstrates the capabilities of Google’s cloud infrastructure and the reliability it provides.
“You may not need to calculate the trillions of decimal places in π, but this massive calculation shows how the flexible Google Cloud infrastructure allows teams around the world to push the boundaries of scientific experiments.” says Iwao. “It’s also a testament to the reliability of our products – the program has been running for more than five months without downtime and has handled every bit correctly. This calculation has been made possible by the improvement of our infrastructure and products in the last three years. “