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Continuing with the theme of math trivia related to pi, consider Colin Percival, a 17yearold student at Simon Fraser University. In October 1998, he calculated the 5,000,000,000,000th "binary" digit of pi
That is right..."binary" digit. In addition to taking 5 months and the use of 25 computers spread across 6 countries, Percival used a clever formula developed in 1995 that allows one to calculate a specific digit of pi without first calculating all of its previous digits. Unfortunately, the calculations must be done in the binary system (and this column's title is pi in binary form).
Unfortunately, Percival knows that the fivetrillionth binary digit of pi is a 0, but there is no way known to convert this digit to its decimal equivalent without knowing all of the intervening digits.
Source: Science News, Oct. 17, 1998
