back to article Pi calculated to '62.8 trillion digits' with a pair of 32-core AMD Epyc chips, 1TB RAM, 510TB disk space

Switzerland's University of Applied Sciences Graubünden has challenged the world record for calculating Pi, claiming it has computed the mathematical constant to 62.8 trillion digits. The university yesterday claimed it had broken the record, asserting it beat the previous record of 50 trillion digits, set by Timothy Mullican …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bah. I've done more.

    I did it on my fingers & toes. (I have a lot of them.) I stopped counting when I hit one Googolplex of digits. I figure the next time I want to speed it up a bit, I'll use my nipples as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah. I've done more.

      Quite a feet.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Bah. I've done more.

        Gives a whole new meaning to arm-based processors...

    2. Citizen of Nowhere

      Re: Bah. I've done more.

      You'll have to be very careful its doesn't all go titsup in that case.

      1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: Bah. I've done more.

        ... or else he'll feel a tit.

        1. ashdav

          Re: Bah. I've done more.

          I'm waiting for the peer revue.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Bah. I've done more.

      Years ago I found some code for a Pi calculator written in C. There was no author attribution that I remember. I ended up publishing my modified version (which included a bug fix and some significant speedups). The thing that makes mine different is that it is MULTI-THREADED. But the speed benefit is only about 2.5 times, due in many ways to the limits of just how much parallel stuff you can do in the basic algorithm.

      In any case, my updated modified threaded version can calculate 1 million digits of Pi in about an hour and a half on a typical amd64-based system. Since it's roughly an n-squared relationship, it implies that this algorithm could calculate 63 trillion digits in about 6 billion hours. Not very impressive, yeah.

      It might be interesting to see what the actual numbers would be...

      (and since the Swiss algorithm is apparently using 64 cores, they must've found a better way to introduce parallel calculations)

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Bah. I've done more.

        Being a pedant you can double that number to 128 threads, since it's got 2 threads to play with per core.

        It'd also be interesting to see how much further they could take it if they managed to get upto the ram limit of 16TB over both chips...

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Coat

    they are now the last known digits of Pi

    I suppose 355/113 isn't good enough in this modern, hurry-up, high-precision world!

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

      Back in the low-precision 80's, my old maths teacher would often boast that his friend knew PI to *20* (gasp!) decimal places, expecting us all to be amazed.

      I never understood why, if he was genuinely actually that impressed about it, he didn't just sit down one night and commit them to memory himself. Or hell, even go one better and learn it to 25, or 30, or maybe something really huge.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

        "go one better and learn it to 25, or 30"

        If you'd paid more attention to the subject, you might realise that "one better" than 20 is actually 21.

        1. Ciaran McHale

          Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

          Innumeracy affects 8 out of every 5 people.

          1. Shane Lusby

            Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

            And 103% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

          2. Dwarf Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

            Hey, Maths is important, but English is importanter

        2. spireite Bronze badge

          Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

          My optician told me my eyes set is better than perfect this year.... it's 20/21.

          1. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

            Get some glasses. You're looking at the invoice.

          2. VE3ID

            Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

            You mean you are at sixes and sevens? (metric)

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

        I had it memorised (still do) to 8 places, because that's how many digits were displayed on my 4-banger calculator.

        Bowmar, rebadged for Sears. $100, Christmas 1972. Still carried a slide rule for the trig and log functions.

        One of my more well-off classmates came back in January with an HP-35. I drooled. Bought an HP-25 for grad school.

        1. Bob Scrantzen

          Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

          I know it from my Casio Scientific Calculator days of the 1980s.

          3.1415926535

          One of my classmates, my geeky friend, memorised it to 65 places.

          But we were soon distracted by the joys or Rubik's Cubes and Collossal Adventure and programming in Machine Code (Z80 or 6502) or BASIC.

          In normal life, in my head, I use "about 3" or "22/7" perhaps if I only have pencil and paper and lacking electronic assistance

          (all my batteries are flat or my bags have been stolen at the airport, for instance)

          =============

          I'm dismayed by the waste of resources for all these groups to calculate Pi to such precision.

          We have shortages of chips and boards regularly.

          Prices are inflated for us mortals. Bitcoin miners! I'm looking at you as well!

          For Proofs of Concept, how about modelling, the Weather, Climate Change, COVID-19, "The Travelling Salesperson" problem?

          1. FlippingGerman

            Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

            Normies think pi is cool and weird, and so this stuff gets headlines, which (hopefully) gets grant money for other stuff. I imagine the development of the processing algorithms are genuinely useful.

      3. Timto

        Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

        When I was a teenager I memorised 100 digits. It wasn't that hard, there are a few near repeating patterns. I still know 54, because it's nice to end on a zero so you can stop without rounding problems

        Whenever anyone says pi is 3.142 I get very upset.

      4. nonpc

        Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

        For a time I stood wondering to myself about the inane accuracy of decimal fractions. Why in the apostles name do we bother with all these decimals?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

      In my day it was 22/7 and we were lucky to get that...

    3. Precordial thump

      Re: they are now the last known digits of Pi

      This value is enough to calculate the circumference of the universe to 1:10^-12 the diameter of a neutron.

      Now, let's measure the radius of the universe to that sort of accuracy. Anyone?

  3. trevorde Silver badge

    Engineering approximation

    I was a mechanical engineer and once told a PhD maths colleague that you could approximate both pi and e as 3. He was appalled.

    1. Negative Charlie

      Re: Engineering approximation

      A real engineer can approximate anything to 3.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Engineering approximation

      Did you ever wonder why your tyres didn't fit properly?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Engineering approximation

        I don't often wear my tyres*. I just thought I'd put on weight.

        * Although I am getting a little bald...

    3. Wanting more

      Re: Engineering approximation

      Better err on the side of safety and call it 4. Or maybe just 10.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Engineering approximation

        10 is taken - it's g.

    4. John Robson Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Engineering approximation

      On the basis that I was an a physics lecture where the lecturer said:

      "This function is about point four, which is nearly a half so we'll round it to one"

      To be fair rounding it to zero would have been rather catastrophic, since it was part of a long string of functions that were being multiplied... but the logic nearly had me snorting my morning beverage.

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Engineering approximation

      A physicist would approximate to 1

      1. phy2sll

        Re: Engineering approximation

        Just do it all in natural units - the answer is always 1.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Engineering approximation

      Or if you're a cosmologist, pi is approximated as 1. Or 10... whatever.

      (xkcd 2205)

    7. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Engineering approximation

      You wait until you see the civil engineering approximation

      and it depends on whether you paid cash or want a VAT reciept

    8. DS999 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Just approximate it to 0

      It is closer to 0 than any large number, and the math for calculating the area/volume of a circle/sphere becomes a lot easier. That might even be the correct value for pi inside a singularity!

    9. Timbo Bronze badge

      Re: Engineering approximation

      I seem to recall a few years ago, that the French govt legalised the rounding up of pi to 3.2.

      I don't know if this had any effect on any French projects, but a difference of only 1.8% is probably within most margins of error, except when it comes to maybe some planes or spacecraft ;-)

      1. Anonymous IV
        WTF?

        Re: Engineering approximation

        > I seem to recall a few years ago, that the French govt legalised the rounding up of pi to 3.2.

        Maybe you are (also?) thinking of the so-called "Indiana Pi Bill" of 1897 (q.v.), which tried to legislate that the value of Pi was 3.2?

        A rather more recent article in Forbes puts its foot in it in an alternative manner by stating:

        Pi is a number that defines what a circle is. It's the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, and it's the same for every circle: 3.141592 followed by a string of over 22 trillion other digits.

        (My bolding)

    10. Precordial thump

      Re: Engineering approximation

      3^3i+1 != 0, though

      1. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Engineering approximation

        To the nearest whole number it does though..

        0.0118720729 - 0.153633328 i. Close enough to zero for practical purposes.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    Two questions

    Did they show their working out and who checked the result.

    Actually, as someone who gets a different answer every time I count my fingers and toes, is is knowing pi to a bazillion places useful for anything?

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: is knowing pi to a bazillion places useful for anything?

      It generates a lot of "news" articles.

      Dilligent research provides: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/aug/17/new-mathematical-record-whats-the-point-of-calculating-pi

      extract: Mathematicians have estimated that an approximation of pi to 39 digits is sufficient for most cosmological calculations – accurate enough to calculate the circumference of the observable universe to within the diameter of a single hydrogen atom.

      1. Howard Sway Silver badge

        Re: is knowing pi to a bazillion places useful for anything?

        The diameter of a single hydrogen atom is still fairly massive on the quantum scale : you don't have to go too much further though to reach the Planck length, after which all measurements become meaningless due to quantum fluctuations. So, no, it's not practically useful for anything in the real universe..

      2. TDog

        Re: is knowing pi to a bazillion places useful for anything?

        But then of course, Heisenberg comes along and moves the atom, making the universe bigger or smaller...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: is knowing pi to a bazillion places useful for anything?

          Ah yes. The Heisenberg Feng Shui Principle. Also known as The Schrödinger's Flat Paradox.

      3. spold

        Re: is knowing pi to a bazillion places useful for anything?

        Frankly, the supercomputer is a waste of time, I'm betting once you get into 20-something places you can just tack on random digits and it will make a bugger-all difference to anything practical.

    2. ssharwood

      Re: Two questions

      Yes All explained in the stuff we linked to.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Two questions

      "is knowing pi to a bazillion places useful for anything"

      according to the article I read about this including an interview with the team lead, knowing pi to a bazillion places is not that useful, but knowing *how* to calculate pi to a bazillion places in a highly efficient way is useful because the techniques can be applied in other fields of numerical analysis.

    4. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Two questions

      I hadn't the heart to tell them that the 32th trillion number is a 8 not a 9

    5. Geez Money

      Re: Two questions

      The purpose is to prove who has the biggest.... uh.... supercomputer.

    6. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      as someone who gets a different answer every time I count my fingers and toes

      You must stop using that bacon slicer.

    7. A. Coatsworth
      Flame

      Re: Two questions

      Scientists are looking for the text lost from the Library of Alexandria.

      They are bound to be there, somewhere... Problem is, we don't know in which language they are encoded.

    8. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Two questions

      Was thinking along those lines. As in how do they know how many they have? I assume the software must index it somehow.

      Also, why did they stop there? Run out of storage/computing capacity/coffee?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's very Swiss..

    .. to demand more precision.

    :)

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Joke

    7817924264

    Damnit, that was my phone number !

    1. adam 40 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: 7817924264

      Damn! Now I've got to change my PIN number number!!!!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: 7817924264

        My pin is the last 4 digits of pi

  7. Dwarf Silver badge

    So, now what ?

    Although its a "cool" * project and they have a big pile of data to play with now, but what are they actually going to do with it ?

    Or was it just a cool thing to put on a bunch of CV's / an enabler for doing some other HPC tasks that do real work?

    * Or whatever the 2021 version of "cool" is.

  8. sreynolds

    This all seems.....

    Just so irrational.

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      Re: This all seems.....

      not very complex.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: This all seems.....

        i can help...

        1. Psmo
          Headmaster

          Re: This all seems.....

          Or j for those of that swing differentiately?

    2. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: This all seems.....

      i find that's the root of all your negativity.

  9. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Boffin

    I can help them to carry it on if needed...

    cat /dev/urandom

  10. Anonymous IV
    Thumb Up

    Random numbers

    Could they print out these 62.8 trillion digits and use them as a source of truly random numbers?

    1. Ellipsis
      Thumb Down

      Re: Random numbers

      Proving the sequence is random would seem like a more worthwhile endeavour than simply burning electricity running a program for a little bit longer than the last lot, just to willy-wave a meaningless record until the next lot come along and waste even more electricity running it even longer…

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        What is random?

        But they're not random. They're entirely predictable - that's why they were able to calculate them. In fact there's a ?famous formula that enables you to calculate any hex digit of pi without knowing any other digits.

        I suspect what you're asking is if whether there is some bias in the distribution of base-10 digits.

        1. Ellipsis
          FAIL

          Re: What is random?

          Yes – I fell in to a trap there. I was never much good at statistics…

          (Icon is for me)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What is random?

            Stuff like that is why you never write your own cryptography libraries.

      2. Steve Foster
        Facepalm

        Re: Random numbers

        Except that they took considerably less time (and therefore probably less electricity) than the previous record holder.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Random numbers

          Probably less electricity than bitcoin mining. Stupid design.

      3. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Random numbers

        On the plus side Switzerland's electricity is just about CO2 neutral.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Random numbers

          Being locally CO2 neutral(ish) but performing a bloody pointless task doesn't do anything to help with global CO2 reduction.

          It's like saying you're not quite in debt so it's OK to blow a few quid you don't have.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Random numbers

        Probably more useful than all the electrickery used to create 21st-century tulip bulbs (aka Bitcoin).

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Random numbers

      Actually, something similar is done. If a cryptographic algorithm needs a fixed random looking number and a number is chosen, you could be accused that this number allows a back door. If you use “20 digits of pi starting with the 20 trillionth” that is as good as random, but can’t be used for a back door.

  11. Just A Quick Comment

    Secret messages?

    Have they found any secret messages tucked away in the depts of Pi, maybe from the Creator to us Subjects?

    "This is a Beta version. Please report any problems..."

    "Hello to mum and dad. Told you I'd get to 32 trillion..."

    "Congrations! You have just discovered the secret message."

    "I think I made an error back a few digits. Better check..."

    1. longtimeReader

      Re: Secret messages?

      DNA: 'We apologize for the inconvenience.”

    2. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge
      Terminator

      Re: Secret messages?

      You'd have to calculate it in base-11 to see the message. And it's the blueprint for a flying machine; did anybody check if the applied scientists are still in Swaziland? (Don't bother with the pictures they took)

    3. juice Silver badge

      Re: Secret messages?

      One idle bit of musing I did a while ago, was that (in true Shakespeare's Monkey Typewriter style), if you iterate through Pi long enough, you'll theoretically be able to pull any number sequence out of it, by providing an offset and a length.

      E.g. "You want '0123456789'? That'll be at offset 5 squllion, length 10".

      Admittedly, this is a pretty inefficient way to transmit data, since both sides would need to have at least 5 squillion+10 digits of Pi to hand.

      And having just fired up https://www.piday.org/million/, I can sadly report that you can only get "0123" from the first million digits...

      Then too, I'm sure that some mathematically minded bod will point out that since Pi isn't random, this isn't actually possible. But hey :)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Secret messages?

        > if you iterate through Pi long enough, you'll theoretically be able to pull any number sequence out of it,

        Actually we can't prove that. There's a word for irrational numbers that contain all arbitrary sequences (that I can't remember) but we can't prove if pi is one of them.

        1. juice Silver badge

          Re: Secret messages?

          > Actually we can't prove that. There's a word for irrational numbers that contain all arbitrary sequences (that I can't remember) but we can't prove if pi is one of them.

          Thank you, mathematically minded bod ;)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Secret messages?

      "I've been trying to reach you about your auto warranty"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guiness World Records

    How are Guiness going to verify the numbers? short of calculating Pi themselves...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guiness World Records

      I'll help, but it will involve a lot of Guinness :)

      1. Sam Therapy

        Re: Guiness World Records

        Hey, it's a tough job but I'd be willing to do it.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: Guiness World Records

      The answer itself is 60 TB of ASCII. To download that equates to the time needed to drink a barrel of Guiness.

      For anybody with several millions of cores, the computation should not take too long.

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Guiness World Records

        Very much hope it’s not ASCII at 8 bits per digit. Maybe BCD wit 8 bits for 2 digits. Or base-10^12 with 40 bits for 12 digits.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guiness World Records

      Pen and paper?

      I remember seeing a TV programme a few years ago, where in the olden days a chap did exactly that. Over the years he filled in pages of figures.

      Problemn was he made an error at IIRC, 50 digits

    4. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Guiness World Records

      Since there are relatively easy methods of calculating any individual digit of pi without having to go through all the previous digits...

      A sampling check would be sufficient for a world record.

      I wonder whether they have ECC on their storage?

  13. karlkarl Silver badge

    Would all those threads provided by the AMD chip actually be beneficial for this specific task?

    It isn't an easy problem to break up into parallel equations is it?

    I mean, yeah its convenient that they can also surf the web and answer emails whilst their machine is crunching away but I am fairly certain they have other machines for that ;)

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      .... actually, they _did_ have a big email to send, to Greggs.co.uk, after adding _e_ [geddit!!???]

    2. Geez Money

      Calculating pi is about the most parallelizable task there is. It can scale so well that it's what is typically used as an all-core max heat stress test when breaking in/validating hardware.

      1. Little Mouse Silver badge

        So you really can tie up all of a machine's compute power by making it calculate PI?

        Captain Kirk was right after all!

  14. vektorweg

    Time to replace the infinite monkey theorem with the pi encoded theorem. If you encode numbers as characters, pi is containing every work ever written.

    1. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge

      Yeah, yeah. And the monkeys got the collected works of Jeffery Archer on the first attempt. I saw the cartoon.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Boffin

        Sorry to disappoint

        The 'infinite monkey hypothesis' is incorrect. The idea that an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters given an infinite amount of time would eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare does not work statistically.

        For example. The sum of the reciprocal squares of the positive integers is pi*pi/6. So if we take each monkey in turn and assume it has a probability of typing any work of Shakespeare as one trillionth of the reciprocal of the square of it's number, then the whole lot have a probability of generating the works of Shakespeare*** of pi*pi/6trillion, even though each monkey has a positive probability and there are infinitely many of them.

        I apologise wholeheartedly for the devastation caused to everyone's dreams by this revelation, and am very sorry.

        ***OK so there is some statistics missing here considering that each monkey might generate the same work of Shakespeare, but the idea is that an infinite sum of positive values is not necessarily >= 1. Sadly Douglas Adams didn't get everything right :o(

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: Sorry to disappoint

          "the idea is that an infinite sum of positive values is not necessarily >= 1"

          Under the assumption that infinity actually exists, I only agree with this statement if those positive values are infinitely small. However a monkey with a typewriter is only fscking small.. not infinitely small.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Sorry to disappoint

            >However a monkey with a typewriter is only fscking small

            You wouldn't say that if you had to share a cubicle with one

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Sorry to disappoint

              And not forgetting that if you divide infinity by any number, you still get infinity. Some of those monkey will be pissed off. So that's an infinite number of monkey typing and an infinite number of monkey flinging shit around.

          2. Bob Scrantzen

            Re: Sorry to disappoint

            Geometric Progressions...

            We learned about 1+1/2+1/4+1/8....etc

            "It never actually gets to 2, but it is EXACTly 2 "

            This had us in strong uproar and non-understanding with our Teacher.

            Later, Quantum Physics did my head in too

            Douglas Adams and "Hitchhiker's..." is at least enjoyable and my greatest read ever.

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

              Re: Sorry to disappoint

              Your teacher should have explained (and proved) that 2 is the smallest number greater than each of the partial sums:

              1, 1 + 1/2, 1 + 1/2 + 1/4, 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8, ... etc.

              As such, it is considered that the limit of the infinite sum is 2.

              The statement that "It never actually gets to 2, but it is EXACTly 2 " is contradictory and therefore confusing.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Sorry to disappoint

                >"It never actually gets to 2, but it is EXACTly 2 " is contradictory

                They should probably have said, it is indistinguishable from 2and therefore is 2

                Maths and common sense don't always align - even in number theory

                1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

                  Re: Sorry to disappoint

                  You can prove that the sequence s=1+1/2+1/4+... equals 2 with some simple algebra.

                  If s=1+1/2+1/4+... then s/2=1/2+1/4+1/8+...

                  s=s/2+1, rearrange for s.

            2. Precordial thump

              Re: Sorry to disappoint

              Easy if you do it in binary:

              x = 1.11111111111111... (1)

              2x = 11.1111111111111... (2)

              2x - x = 10.00000000000... (2)-(1)

              x = 10 = 1.11111111111111....

              = 2(base 10)

  15. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Contact

    Wonder if they have finally found the image of a circle embedded in the digit sequence.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge

      Re: Contact

      They have to convert it to base_11 first.

  16. davemcwish

    Pi calculations are all very well but

    will it play [firstperson_video_game]?

    1. Geez Money

      Re: Pi calculations are all very well but

      Actually the last generation was already demoed running [notorious_firstperson_video_game] in full software rendering mode (at all of about 10-15 fps but hey): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuLsrr79-Pw&t=709s

      1. Ian 55

        Re: Pi calculations are all very well but

        Thanks for including the offset time in that URL.

        Having tried it from the start, I wanted him to die within the first couple of minutes.

        That's probably why he has 1M+ subscribers...

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Pi calculations are all very well but

      how about a video instead?

      (10,000 digits of Pi by Hatsune Miku - I think this is the original one)'

  17. Pseudononymous Coward
    Happy

    "the full number will be published,"

    Where are they going to publish it?

    Will that be a contender for the world record of longest or most boring web page or paper too?

    I think we should be told.

  18. aregross
    Headmaster

    Pi calculated to '62.8 trillion digits' ....

    Oh Good, lemme write that down!

  19. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    HDD vs SSD

    Hard disks were chosen over SSDs because SSD performance degrades over time and the university's designers feared their intensive calculations could cause problems.

    Normally an SSD will happily last for much longer than 108 days(*) so just how much disk traffic was this set up doing?

    (*) Looks at desktop machine: SSD power on hours 60989.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: HDD vs SSD

      Oops, I missed to move data in parallel from the server to the 34 disks at around 8.5GB/sec.

      That's ~20 TB/day/disk. Ouch, no wonder they avoided SSDs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HDD vs SSD

        I'd be willing to bet they're further constrained by the aggregate throughput of the server's disk controller as well. One SSD can outpace an HDD, easily. Whack dozens of them onto a host and try and abuse them in parallel with sequential workloads and you're almost always far better off getting physical disks.

  20. fidget

    The quadrillionth bit of Pi is '0'

    The rather amazing Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula allows us to compute the hexadecimal digits of pi independently (i.e. without computing the earlier digits). Colin Percival use it to organise a distributed computing project to compute specific bits of pi. The project closed soon after the quadrillionth bit of pi was found.

    It takes 1,000 trillions to create a quadrillion and so Percival's bit lies well beyond the 63 trillionon-th decimal digit of pi.

    Here are some URLs

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailey%E2%80%93Borwein%E2%80%93Plouffe_formula

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PiHex

    http://wayback.cecm.sfu.ca/projects/pihex/announce1q.html

  21. Skiron
    Coat

    I beaten the record already - the last 10 digits are now one of these:

    8179242640

    8179242641

    8179242642

    8179242643

    8179242644

    8179242645

    8179242646

    8179242647

    8179242648

    8179242649

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Trollface

      It could also be that the boffins happened to calculate the last meaningful digit (4) and the rest would be just meaningless zeroes.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Scott Broukell

    Sponsorhip Deal

    I can't help thinking that the marketing folks at Greggs missed an opportunity for adverstising / sponsorship here - I mean think of all those pies, amiright!

    1. jvf

      Re: Sponsorhip Deal

      you are right. anyway you slice it, that's a lot of pi.

  23. TVU

    "Pi calculated to 62.8 trillion digits"

    Alternatively, the good approximation 355/113 is much easier to remember.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      And accurate to single precision IEEE floating point.

  24. Artem S Tashkinov

    “This is a benchmarking exercise for computational hardware and software,” Jan de Gier, a professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of Melbourne, says.

    Mathematicians have estimated that an approximation of pi to 39 digits is sufficient for most cosmological calculations – accurate enough to calculate the circumference of the observable universe to within the diameter of a single hydrogen atom.

    1. nautica

      "...calculate the circumference of the observable universe to within..."

      I've always had a problem with this statement.

      Does it not imply that, as a starting point, must'nt one know the diameter of the observable universe to within the diameter of a single hydrogen atom?

      1. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: "...calculate the circumference of the observable universe to within..."

        It's easy - just divide the circumference of the observable universe by pi. Go and get a pencil, I'll wait.

  25. ST Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And after calculating Pi to 62.8 trillion digits ...

    ... we still don't know its exact value.

    Awesome.

    Next project: square root of 2 to 62.9 trillion digits. Just as useful. And then we can multiply the result with itself and observe that the value obtained is not quite 2, even with a 62.9 trillion digits precision.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. vincent himpe

    back in the day...

    pi was "three and a bit"

    Or better, apply B.S.Johnsons mathematics and just makes circles where the circumference is exactly three times the diameter.

    now we got pi , can someone do e ?

    1. nautica
      Happy

      Re: back in the day...

      One of my favorite 'throwaway' passwords--

      2.718281828459045. (without the decimal point, of course)

      Very easy to remember. Learned how easy it is from a calculus prof at college.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: back in the day...

        Yes but it would cause terrible inconvenience to physicists and electrical engineers if you lost your card and were forced to change 'e'

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: back in the day...

          In Richard Feynman's memoir of his time at Princeton Advanced Studies Institute (I think), one of the senior researchers there had lots of filing cabinets with, as it happened, the USA's nuclear secrets. One evening Feynman needed some information from the filing cabinets, but the researcher and secretary had gone home. Undeterred, Feynman set about opening the cabinets using his skill as a safe cracker augmented by knowledge of the person involved.

          First he tried pi, no luck, then he tried e. Success! Each cabinet was opened by a combination from the digits of e. Now, being Feynman and enjoying a joke, he left a little note in each cabinet to let the guy know who had been rifling his files. The first one was something like "Hi, just me getting some info, Regards, Dick Feynman". Subsequent ones read something like "Me again".

          Of course the next morning the guy opened his cabinets, but not in the same order Feynman had, so was seriously worried about a major breach of top secret information until he reached the note signed by Feynman.

          Details in "Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman" and "What do you care what other people think?" by Richard Feynman, both of them well worth reading.

          1. Archivist

            Re: back in the day...

            I concur, a great read.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not calculate something useful instead?

    Surely we can think of more useful record-breaking calculations to do on that hardware than just more digits of Pi?

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Why not calculate something useful instead?

      Yeah, but you don't get the headlines or the certificate stating you have a Guinness World Record.

  28. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Joke

    Oh dear, I need to update my passwords :-(

    My password everywhere is the last ten digits of Pi so now I have to change them all.

    1. nautica
      Boffin

      Re: Oh dear, I need to update my passwords :-(

      This particular circumstance was completely predictable, and should have been anticipated. However, all is not lost...

      ...simply use one of π's groupings-of-ten from the BEGINNING of the sequence--any of the second, third, fourth...groupings.

      Better yet: use the digits of some other fairly-well-known, but not as easily "guess-able" physical constant, such as the 'fine structure' constant...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Oh dear, I need to update my passwords :-(

        "Better yet: use the digits of some other fairly-well-known, but not as easily "guess-able" physical constant, such as the 'fine structure' constant..."

        I'd not be surprise to learn that there "dictionaries" out there already with lists of those sorts of numbers used for hacking into university computers by black hat espionage types from places like China.

  29. nautica
    Boffin

    Equal time is demanded.

    I am, quite literally, shocked and offended that the true value of π, as inferred in the Judeo-Christian bible, in its Old Testament, has been ignored: 3 (three; 3.0).

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Equal time is demanded.

      Yes but 3 had a different value before the Flood. God changed it because the old value made the rainbow look wonky.

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Equal time is demanded.

      I assume you are referring to the text in 'the Old Testament' stating that King Solomon had a pool built for the priests to bathe in which was 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits around?

      In the Hebrew of the time, letters are numbers, and if you take into account that the word "cubits' was spelt differently for the diameter and the circumference and do the calculation, you get pi accurate to about 7 decimal places. (I read this in a book about the number pi, whose title I do not recall. It was big, heavy and expensive, so I didn't buy it, so cannot give a reference, sorry.)

  30. MikeTheHill

    How does anyone prove this number is correct?

    After all, only the first part of it can be compared to the previously longest value of pi. But what about the last part?

    Is there some mathematical trickery that one can use to verify this value? (Probably, I'm no mathematician).

    1. JBowler

      Re: How does anyone prove this number is correct?

      Nope, no trickery and no method to verify it computationally so far as I know. This is math, so the normal rules of science do not apply (in science you can only prove that something is wrong). The method of producing the string of digits is, I assume, proved in the mathematical sense.

      The engineers that produced the string of digits asserted that they used the correct method - or is there some verification of that? Was the computer program used provably correct?

      Ok, so I assume this is an American(French) Trillion (10^12, not 10^6^3 [10^18 - million^3]). So I guess the test is to check against the results of another, completely different (no shared origin) computer program that also generated at least 62800000000000 digits and see what these [index] digits are, I'll give you the first for free:

      00000000000001 3

      62800000000000

      62799999999999

      62799999999998

      62799999999997

      62799999999996

      62799999999995

      62799999999994

      62799999999993

      62799999999992

      62799999999991

      62799999999990

      62799999999989

      62799999999988

      62799999999987

      62799999999986

      62799999999985

      62799999999984

      62799999999983

      62799999999982

      62799999999981

      62799999999980

      62799999999979

      62799999999978

      62799999999977

      62799999999976

      62799999999975

      62799999999974

      62799999999973

      62799999999972

      62799999999971

      62799999999970

      So when a few engineers have filled in values for those number (guaranteed they will all be the same) some mathematician can actually work out how to check them.

  31. Phil Kingston

    Still fewer digits than your mum's had

  32. James Loughner

    Not every where

    The ratio c/d is only good in flat space in curved space it can be almost be anything

    1. Esme

      Re: Not every where

      it's precisely 2 for a circle circumnavigating the universe in a straight line in a space of positive curvature!

  33. Kev99

    I've known the total value pf Pi for several years. $7.00 a slice at O Pie O in Walnut Hills (Cincinnati).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      It must be bloody good be at that price! I'd expect the whole pie for that, not just a slice :-)

  34. Bob Scrantzen

    The direct Great Circle route from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania may be subject to Supermassive Fighter Jet disturbance and distortion to Minsk, Belarus

  35. gnasher729 Silver badge

    I just realised they apparently calculated 2 pi x 10^13 decimal digits…

  36. Mips
    Childcatcher

    62.8 trillion

    Why stop there?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 62.8 trillion

      As the poster just above you mention, because 62.8/2 is 31.4, or the first 3 digits of pi :-)

      (OK, so it works better if you say 62.8/20)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At college

    Learning about electronics, used to do stuff that involved pi, something with frequencies IIRC. The equation was to find value of a component at a certain frequency. I used to work out the value to 8 decimal places, but when it came to actually finding a resister with that value - forget it! Standard values +/- 5%

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a fucking waste...

    ...of resources, time, money, power, CO2, etc...

  39. Lil Endian
    Coat

    Mullican's 303

    No wonder he got shot down if he used a Lee-Enfield.

    Mine's the one with the extra clips in the pocket.

  40. Bob Scrantzen

    MAME (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator) is probably a cinch

    But my chance to relive the 80s on my bog standard PC a few years ago. All those great Arcade games that could be found in Pubs, as well as Arcades, Service Stations, Launderettes,,, everywhere!

    I spent a lot of money, and drank a lot of beer, with a friend on this one...

    Taito's Flying Shark, a much better 2D/3D Scroller than '1942'

    https://www.google.com/search?q=taito+flying+shark

    We got very good at it, clocking all 32 (?) levels, playing for an hour, but being killed before we could clock it twice.

    It was exhausting, because in spite of Power Ups (increased firepower bonuses) you still had to hammer the fire button very quickly.

    (Daley Thompson's Decathlon style. Service Engineers must have replaced the buttons very regularly.)

    And then, the machine finished its Tour of Duty in that pub, but a neighbouring pub had just got a modern Real Life Pinball Table. Specifically 'The Adams Family'.

    We got really good at that. And really drunk.

    And then we both met women, fell in love and had babies...

    And now the babies are grown up, and I am middle-aged, my hand-eye co-ordination is shot to pieces.

    I'm lucky to get to Level 2 on any game

  41. John Savard Silver badge

    Wow

    I read another article about this, which said the calculations were done on a supercomputer.

    While dual 32-core EPYC chips is a bit more than my budget can afford for a desktop, there are lots of people with comparable systems at home. Even one terabyte of RAM, usually found in servers, is not impossible for the serious enthusiast.

    So I'm surprised it's a record, as surely somebody with a bigger computer would have tried.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Wow

      The calculation also involves a fairly largish amount of fairly expensive fast storage

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