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## Nicholas Sze of Yahoo Finds Two-Quadrillionth Digit of Pi299

gregg writes "A researcher has calculated the 2,000,000,000,000,000th digit of pi — and a few digits either side of it. Nicholas Sze, of technology firm Yahoo, determined that the digit — when expressed in binary — is 0."
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## Nicholas Sze of Yahoo Finds Two-Quadrillionth Digit of Pi

on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:01PM (#33605586)
The interesting thing about this article is how they calculated the digits. They broke the problem up into small pieces and had them calculated in parallel. This approach isn't something that's new or all the unique, but what is is applied to is. Most mathematical calculations are done in a near linear fashion, not in parallel. So for them to be able to do this is a big step forward in how we approach these types of problem in the future.

Of course I'm very interested in this since it seems I'll be doing something like it in the near future as part of getting my master's degree.
• #### A serious question (Score:4, Interesting)

on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:05PM (#33605648)
I've always wondered about these ridiculously precise values of pi - doesn't that imply a measurement (of circumference or diameter) smaller than the Planck length? What's the point of 2 trillion decimals of precision?
• #### Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula (Score:3, Interesting)

on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:05PM (#33605650)

Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula [wikimedia.org] lets you calculate the n-th digit of pi without calculating the n-1 digits.

I wonder what formula was used to calculate the digit here.

• #### Re:A serious question (Score:3, Interesting)

on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:18PM (#33605752)
Well, the radius of the visible universe is roughly 7.6 * 10^6 Planck lengths [google.com]. That means the volume is on the order of 10^183 cubic Planck lengths. So, if you can calculate PI to 200 digits or so, you're really accurate. At some point, more accurate than spacetime itself.
• #### Re:A serious question (Score:3, Interesting)

on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:36PM (#33605908) Homepage Journal

So obviously, 640 digits of pi should be enough for anybody.

And here they are: