New Pi World Record with Emma Haruka Iwao and Sara Ford

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Carter Morgan and Brian Dorsey are working on their math skills today with guests Emma Haruka Iwao and Sara Ford. What kind of computing power does it take to break the world record for pi computations? Emma and Sara are here to tell us.

Emma tells us how she started with pi and how she and Sara came to work together to break the record. In 2019, Emma was on the show with her previous world record, and with the advancements in technology and Google products since, she knew she could do even more this year. Her 100 trillion digit goal wasn’t enough to scare people away, and Sara, along with other partners, joined Emma on the pi computation journey. Together, Sara and Emma talk about the hardware required, building the algorithm, how it’s run, and where the data is stored. Running on a personal computer was cheaper and easier than a super computer, and Emma explains why. Performing these immense calculations can also help illustrate just how far computers have come.

The storage required for this project was immense, and Emma tells us how they worked around some of the storage limitations. We hear more about Ycruncher and how it was used to help with calculations. Our guests talk about how things might change for computing and specifically for pi computations in the next few years, and Sara tells us about the storage journey from the perspective of a mathematician, and gives us some interesting facts about the algorithms involved, and we learn how world records are verified.

Emma Haruka Iwao

Emma is a developer advocate for Google Cloud Platform, focusing on application developers’ experience and high performance computing. She has been a C++ developer for 15 years and worked on embedded systems and the Chromium Project. Emma is passionate about learning and explaining the most fundamental technologies such as operating systems, distributed systems, and internet protocols. Besides software engineering, she likes games, traveling, and eating delicious food.

Sara Ford

Sara Ford is a Developer Advocate on Google Cloud focusing on Serverless. She received a Masters degree in Human Factors (UX) because she wants to make dev tools more usable. Her lifelong dream is to be a 97-year old weightlifter so she can be featured on the local news.

Cool things of the week
  • New Cloud Podcasts Website site
  • Even more pi in the sky: Calculating 100 trillion digits of pi on Google Cloud blog
Interview
  • GCP Podcast Episode 167: World Pi Day with Emma Haruka Iwao podcast
  • pi.delivery 100 Trillion Digits site
  • pi.delivery Github site
  • A History of Pi book
  • Distributing historically linear calculations of Pi with serverless video
  • Ycruncher site
  • Compute Engine site
  • Cloud Functions site
  • SRE site
  • Terraform site
What’s something cool you’re working on?

Carter and Brian are working on a new season of VM End to End

Hosts

Carter Morgan and Brian Dorsey

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