Google calculates Pi to 100 trillion digits and reclaims world record

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,226   +158
Staff member
In brief: Google has successfully calculated 100 trillion digits of π, setting a new world record in the process. This isn't the first time Google has topped the leaderboard. In 2019, the search giant became the first to use a commercial cloud service and solid state drives to set the Pi record at 31.4 trillion digits calculated.

A team from the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons swiped the record last year, pushing the total up to 62.8 trillion decimal places.

Like before, Google used y-cruncher to perform calculations. This time around, the Compute Engine was configured with 128 vCPUs, 864 GB of RAM and 100 Gbps of egress bandwidth. For comparison, the 2019 calculation had just 16 Gbps of egress bandwidth.

The program ran for a total of 157 days, 23 hours, 31 minutes and 7.651 seconds, utilizing 43.5 PB of reads and 38.5 PB of writes in the process.

Emma Haruka Iwao, a developer advocate at Google, said they used Terraform to set up and manage the cluster. They also created a program that runs y-cruncher with different parameters and automated much of the measurement. All said and done, the tweaks made the program about twice as fast.

Why keep going at this point? As Iwao highlights, Pi calculations can be used as a measuring stick to chart the progress of processing power over time. In this specific instance, it also demonstrates the capabilities of Google's Cloud infrastructure and the reliability it affords.

Google has published the scripts it used over on GitHub for those interested in digging deeper into the code.

Permalink to story.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
:rolleyes: Why computing geeks calculate pi to this precision is beyond me, after all, no calculations exist that need that kind of precision.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 729   +1,157
There’s bound to be a 0 that appears 10+ times in a row at some point when you’ve figured out 100 trillion digits. My question is what size circle would you need to have in order for 100 trillion digits of Pi to make a difference in the result of calculating the circumference or area?
 

human7

Posts: 50   +33
:rolleyes: Why computing geeks calculate pi to this precision is beyond me, after all, no calculations exist that need that kind of precision.

"In this specific instance, it also demonstrates the capabilities of Google's Cloud infrastructure and the reliability it affords."

AKA: Marketing.
 

human7

Posts: 50   +33
There’s bound to be a 0 that appears 10+ times in a row at some point when you’ve figured out 100 trillion digits. My question is what size circle would you need to have in order for 100 trillion digits of Pi to make a difference in the result of calculating the circumference or area?

Mathematicians suspect (but have not yet proved) that every possible finite number is contained within the digits of pi, and thus, every possible finite object can be represented within the digits of pi.

You really only need 32 digits of pi to measure the Milky Way galaxy within an atom of accuracy (you'd have more trouble defining the edge of the galaxy then measuring it with this level of precision, though). You can read about it here:
https://www.askamathematician.com/2012/10/q-how-accurately-do-we-need-to-know-π-is-there-a-reason-to-know-it-out-to-billions-of-digits/
 

Sathi43

Posts: 40   +51
"In this specific instance, it also demonstrates the capabilities of Google's Cloud infrastructure and the reliability it affords."

AKA: Marketing.
As impressive as it may sound, any trash heap of a computer running Plouffe formula can calculate 100 trillionth binary digit of pi. To store all the digits preceding that however is going to take 12.5TB of storage, although not required for calculating the subsequent digit.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
Mathematicians suspect (but have not yet proved) that every possible finite number is contained within the digits of pi, and thus, every possible finite object can be represented within the digits of pi.
I suspect that that is a proof that, if it is ever found, will be so far off in the future as to not matter to anyone but mathematicians.
You really only need 32 digits of pi to measure the Milky Way galaxy within an atom of accuracy (you'd have more trouble defining the edge of the galaxy then measuring it with this level of precision, though). You can read about it here:
https://www.askamathematician.com/2012/10/q-how-accurately-do-we-need-to-know-π-is-there-a-reason-to-know-it-out-to-billions-of-digits/
Interesting read. Nonetheless, the article states that there are only two reasons to calculate it this far out. 1. It enthralls mathematicians. 2. Competition. IMO, neither is particularly important.
 

human7

Posts: 50   +33
As impressive as it may sound, any trash heap of a computer running Plouffe formula can calculate 100 trillionth binary digit of pi. To store all the digits preceding that however is going to take 12.5TB of storage, although not required for calculating the subsequent digit.
Indeed. The trick is doing it quickly and in an energy efficient manner.
 

human7

Posts: 50   +33
I suspect that that is a proof that, if it is ever found, will be so far off in the future as to not matter to anyone but mathematicians.

Interesting read. Nonetheless, the article states that there are only two reasons to calculate it this far out. 1. It enthralls mathematicians. 2. Competition. IMO, neither is particularly important.
Even if the proof were found today I don't think it would change anything. Knowing that your biography is somewhere in the digits of pi doesn't mean you could find it or distinguish it from all the other tidbits of information.

Indeed, you are correct, there's no reason to know huge numbers of digits.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,625   +1,628
As impressive as it may sound, any trash heap of a computer running Plouffe formula can calculate 100 trillionth binary digit of pi. To store all the digits preceding that however is going to take 12.5TB of storage, although not required for calculating the subsequent digit.
Actually, her calculation required processing more than 80,000 TB of data, with intermediate storage required of 600+ TB. And even if you gave a "trash heap" computer that much storage, it's going to take a few decades to complete the calculation.

Also, stating that there's "no reason" to calculate pi to such precision isn't correct. While there aren't any engineering problems that require such precision, the sequence of pi's digits are important in number theory and other mathematical applications.