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Google Employee Sets New World Record for Calculating Pi—on Pi Day

Most people know 3.14 is the beginning of the value of pi, if only because of the convenient reminder each March. Some mathematicians can take it significantly further. No one, though, has taken it as far as Emma Haruka Iwao.

The Google Japan employee has set a new world record, calculating pi to 31 trillion digits of the infinitely long number. That shatters the previous record, which took the number to 22 trillion.

Iwao had a little help in his quest, recruiting Google’s cloud computing service to assist with the math. That took 25 virtual machines 121 days to complete.

The calculation required 170 TB of data, enough to store 85,000 hours of movies or more than 105 billion photos.

To recite the number out loud, says Iwao, would take 332,064 years. So… maybe we’ll just stick with 3.14 for now and enjoy a slice of key lime while we’re at it.

Pi is more than deserts, pizzas and chicken pot pie, of course. It represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. And that ratio never changes.

Just 34 years ago, people had only managed to calculate pi to 1 million digits. That has, obviously, expanded as computers have gotten smarter and worldwide obsession with the number has increased.

How obsessed? There’s even a language based on Pi these days.