Pi figured to 2.7 trillion digits with a desktop PC
A computer scientist has become the latest boffin to calculate Pi to more decimal places than anyone else using his trusty PC.
The previous record, set at 2.6 trillion odd digits, was calculated by a super computer at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, but Fabirce Bellard managed to lift the bar by a further 123 billion with a single Core i7 Quad Core CPU at 2.93 GHz giving a peak processing power of 46.9 Gflops.
Admittedly, it's a fairly high spec machine but the difference is probably best illustrated by the fact that it took 131 days to perform the task rather then the 29 hours that the super computer needed.
All the same, Mr Bellard claims his algorithm is 20 times more efficient than the previous record holder. He said:
"I am not especially interested in the digits of pi. Arbitrary-precision arithmetic with huge numbers has little practical use, but some of the involved algorithms are interesting to do other things".
"People have used it as a vehicle for testing algorithms and for testing computers; pi has a precise sequence of digits, it's exactly that, and if your computer isn't operating flawlessly some of those digits will be wrong".
Full kudos to Intel in that case. Oh, and if you were wondering why he didn't use a GPU...
"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!"