Google employee breaks Guinness World Record calculating 31.4 trillion digits of Pi

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Iwao's calculation took 121 days to finish and needed 25 virtual machines.

A member of Google's staff has broken the world record for calculating Pi to the highest number of digits - at 31 trillion.

"The biggest challenge with pi is that it requires a lot of storage and memory to calculate", says Iwao, whose calculation required 170 terabytes of data to complete, about the same amount of data as the Library of Congress' print collections hold. What's even interesting is that Google used cloud to make the Pi calculation.

Emma spent four months working on the project in which she calculated pi to 31.4 trillion digits.

Most people will be familiar with the first few digits of pi from geometry class (3.14.). A Yahoo engineer used the company's cloud tech in 2010 to calculate the 2 quadrillionth digit of pi, but did not calculate all the numbers in between.

The contstant is used in engineering, physics, supercomputing and space exploration - because its value can be used in calculations for waves and circles.

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

Pi was first estimated thousands of years ago, and by the mid-20th century, mathematicians had calculated about 1,000 digits of the number, using a gear-driven calculator.

Pi Day, March 14, is a great excuse to seek out your favorite pie and indulge yourself in a warm, flaky crust with apple, cherry, chocolate, or whatever your favorite filling is.

Talking about her journey, she says, "When I was a kid, I didn't have access to supercomputers".

"I feel very surprised", Iwao told BBC of breaking the world record.

"At the time, the world record holders were Yasumasa Kanada and Daisuke Takahashi, who are Japanese, so it was really relatable for me growing up in Japan", she said on Google's official blog.