Pencils down, everyone. IBM's "BlueGene/P" supercomputer
has beaten you to the sixty-trillionth binary digit of Pi-squared after only a few months -- at one quadrillion calculations per second. Running thousands of independent processors, the number-crunching monster accomplished what would have taken a single CPU 1,500 years. A cloud-computing effort last year calculated Pi
itself out to the two-quadrillionth digit
, but you may wonder why this all matters. "What is interesting in these computations is that until just a few years ago, it was widely believed that such mathematical objects were forever beyond the reach of human reasoning or machine computation," said one researcher, "Once again we see the utter futility in placing limits on human ingenuity and technology." So there's that. But in all the commotion no one seems to have announced whether the landmark digit was a one or a zero: all you betting on the outcome will have to dig deeper into the source link.