Home > Problem of the Week > Archive List > Detail

 << Prev 2/18/2007 Next >>

## My Fingers Are Tired

The News section for this week mentions Akira Haraguchi's claim for a world record because he recited the digits of pi to 100,000 decimal places (October 4, 2006). It took him sixteen hours to recite this record number of digits.

In 2002, using a supercomputer, Professor Yasumasa Kanada and other mathematicians at the University of Tokyo set the "non-human" world record by computing the digits of pi to 1.24 trillion decimal places. It took 400 hours to compute this record number of places.

Question 1: Consider Haraguchi's feat. If you were listening to him recite the digits and wrote them down simultaneously, how many digits would you be writing per minute? If you were writing them on a roll of adding machine tape (with eight digits per inch), how long would the paper tape need to be? (Be sure to express your answer in an appropriate unit.)

Question 2: Consider the supercomputer's feat. And, if you were watching it produce the digits on a screen and wrote them down simultaneously, how many digits would you be writing per minute? And, if you were writing them on a roll of adding machine tape (with eight digits per inch), how long would the paper tape need to be? (Be sure to express your answer in an appropriate unit.)

Hint: None available, as I am too busy counting on my fingers!

Solution Commentary: Again, I am still calculating. How many feet in a mile?