Frequently Asked Questions

Summary

Why did you do this ?

I am not especially interested in the digits of Pi, but in the various algorithms involved to do arbitrary-precision arithmetic. Optimizing these algorithms to get good performance is a difficult programming challenge.

Arbitrary-precision arithmetic with huge numbers has little practical use, but some of the involved algorithms are interesting to do other things. In particular:

How does your record compares to the previous one ?

The previous Pi computation record of about 2577 billion decimal digits was published by Daisuke Takahashi on August 17th 2009. The main computation lasted 29 hours and used 640 nodes of a T2K Open Supercomputer (Appro Xtreme-X3 Server). Each node contains 4 Opteron Quad Core CPUs at 2.3 GHz, giving a peak processing power of 94.2 Tflops (trillion floating point operations per second).

My computation used a single Core i7 Quad Core CPU at 2.93 GHz giving a peak processing power of 46.9 Gflops. So the supercomputer is about 2000 times faster than my computer. However, my computation lasted 116 days, which is 96 times slower than the supercomputer for about the same number of digits. So my computation is roughly 20 times more efficient. It can be explained by the following facts:

Is your result consistent with the previously published computations ?

Yes, the result matches the decimal digits of Pi published by Daisuke Takahashi and the hexadecimal and decimal digits published by Kanada.

Where can I download all the computed Pi digits ?

The files have a size of more than 1 TB, so it would take a while to download them, even with a fast Internet connection (e.g. 10 days with a 10Mb/s download speed). Instead, I may add a web page where the user can ask the digits at a specific position. Extracts of the decimal and hexadecimal digits are available here.

Do you plan to go further ?

It will depend on my motivation and on the availability of new hardware with larger and faster storage. Interested sponsors can contact me.

Is the program used to establish the Pi computation record publically available ?

Yes, it is available here for Linux and Windows (64 bit only).

Will you release the source code ?

I don't have decided yet.

Why didn't you use a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) ?

The Pi computation algorithm I used is I/O bound, so the extra processing power of the GPU would not help much. What really matters is the speed of the hard disks. The question would be different if the computation could be done in RAM, but it is currently too expensive, at least for me !

Which book should I read to learn arbitrary-precision arithmetic ?

I suggest:

Who are you ?

I am a software engineer currently working in the field of Digital Television. I live in Paris, France.
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