Cracking Digits of Pi: The Recipe For Surpassing Records in Calculating its Digits

Cracking Digits of Pi: If you’re aware of that pi can be found everywhere you turn. It’s the ratio of circumference of circles to their diameter. So the next time you glance at your watch or observe the wheels of a car go past, you’re seeing pi. 

Since pi is an unproportionable number, there’s no limit to the number of digits can be computed. You may recognize it as 3.14 however experts in math and science are always working on the increasing number of pi-related digits, so they are able to test supercomputers (and are in healthy competition also).

While I’ve been thinking about the flavor of pie I’ll take home later this afternoon Googler Emma Haruka has been working with Google Compute Engine which is powered by Google Cloud to determine the most precise value of pi ever. 

This is 31,415,926,535,897 numbers, to be precise. Emma utilized the cloud’s power to accomplish the job, marking the first time that the cloud is used to perform the calculation of pi in this magnitude.

Emma’s recipe for what was initially a pie-in-the-sky idea to smash records for a Guinness World Records title:

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1. Find the inspiration to help you calculate.

When Emma was just 12 year old, she began to be obsessed with pi. “Pi is simple, it begins with 3.14. As a child I downloaded a program that could calculate the pi number on my laptop,” She says. “At the time the world record holder included Yasumasa Kanada, and Daisuke Takahashi, both of whom are Japanese which is why it was a lot of fun for my growing living in Japan.”

Then, while Emma was at college, one of the professors she had included the Dr. Daisuke Takahashi, then the record holder of the most precise value of pi by using supercomputers. “When I announced to him that I was planning to begin with this research, he offered his suggestions and technical techniques together with me.”

Step 2: Combine your ingredients.

For the calculation of pi Emma utilized an app named the y-cruncher which runs on twenty-five Google Cloud virtual machines. “The most difficult thing about pi lies in the fact that it needs an enormous amount of storage in memory and storage space to compute,” Emma says. Her calculations took 170 terabytes of data to finish, which is roughly the amount of data contained in the whole Library of Congress print collections.

Step 3. Bake for 4 months.

Emma’s calculations required the virtual machines around 120 days to complete. Through the entire period Google Cloud’s Google Cloud infrastructure was able to keep the servers running. If there were any problems or interruptions, they would have affected the calculations. If Emma looked over her final result was accurate she was relieved to see the result was correct. “I realized that this was a significant achievement for me and my colleagues,” she says.

Step 4: Tell a story of your accomplishment.

Emma believes that there are plenty of mathematical issues to be solved and we’re only starting to look into the ways that cloud computing could be a factor. “When I was still a child I didn’t have access supercomputers. However, even in the absence of Google it is possible to apply for a variety of scholarships and programs that allow you access to computer resources”

She says. “I am extremely fortunate to have it was Japanese records holders in the world I could connect with. I’m extremely satisfied to be among the very few women in computer science who hold the record. I’m hoping to inspire more people to enter the industry the possibilities that are available.”

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As a Google employee, Google, Emma is a Cloud Developer Advocate. She focuses on high-performance computing as well as communities of programming languages. Her role is to work directly with developers to help them get more out of cloud computing and sharing information on how the cloud works. 

Now, she’s publishing her results: Google Cloud has released computation numbers completely as disk snapshots, making them accessible to anyone who wishes to have access. 

That means that anyone can copy the snapshots, analyze the results, and access the computational resources within just a few hours. Without cloud storage the only way anyone could access this huge database would be to share the physical drives.

Today, however, Emma and her team will take an opportunity to celebrate the world record set by Emma. Maybe a piece of pie too. Emma’s most-loved flavor? “I enjoy apple pie – not overly sweet.”


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