Engineer Emma Haruka Iwao just broke the world record for calculating pi to more than 31 trillion digits.
“Pi is one of the most important constants in mathematics and science,” she explained.
The cloud developer advocate at Google in Seattle spent four months calculating the most accurate value of pi. Pi is an irrational number, which means it’s never-ending.
“Pi is the ratio of the circumference and the diameter of a circle. It begins with 3.1415 and it goes forever,” Iwao said.
The continuations of Pi has been calculated on supercomputers in the past, but Iwao is the first to use the cloud for her equation. She says the biggest challenge was having enough storage to crunch the numbers. She used approximately 170 terabytes of storage. Google says that amount is roughly equal to all the data in the Library of Congress.
“So we use pi for everything in your daily life—designing buildings, build bridges, highways,” she explained.
As one of the few record-holding women in science, Iwao hopes she can inspire other women to push the boundaries in their fields.
“When I was a kid, I had no idea I—one day break the world record,” she said.