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New Pi Record....

At the University of Tsukuba (Japan), computer scientists have demolished the world record for producing digit sequences for pi. They used a massive parallel computer to more than double the previous amount of known decimal digits to 2.5 trillion.

Their T2K Tsukuba System involves a cluster of 640 computers with a combined processing speed of 95 trillion floating-point operations per second. It calculated a total of 2,576,980,377,524 decimal places for pi in 73 hours 36 minutes; this is a small fraction of the 600 hours taken by the previous record holders—Hitachi and the University of Tokyo—who calculated only 1.2 trillion places.

When asked why people keep calculating these values, team leader professor Daisuke Takahashi said they "wanted to test their new toy."

Since this announcement in early August, people have made interesting comments on blogs as to why anyone should care about this:

  • TUXBOBBLE: "It's a question of scale. Most people choose not to attempt to comprehend what massively complex mathematical equations may benefit from such information. On the other hand, the mere thought that pi's decimal may repeat somewhere... in the seemingly infinite chaos of random numerals would be, to a mathematician and scientist, akin to irrefutably proving the existence of God."
  • CURVES: "I use it fairly frequently. For some reason I'm always needing to know the diameter or in the opposite situation the circumference of something."
  • RJACKSON: "They should leave it running for 3.14159 days."
  • ZENPOET: "Oh yeah? I just beat their record by 1. The next decimal place is '8.' Hey, i can have a world record with a 1 in 10 chance of being correct."
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