Swiss university claims it broke the record for Pi calculation

It has calculated for 62.8 trillion digits of Pi.

Olivier Le Moal via Getty Images

Most people know the value of Pi as 3.1416, but it's gotten longer and longer over the years as researchers try to find its most accurate calculation. A team from the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden in Switzerland now claims it has broken the world record for computing for the mathematical constant: It said it has calculated for 62.8 trillion digits of Pi. The current record holder, Timothy Mullican, calculated up to 50 trillion digits and was recognized for his work last year.

According to the Swiss university, its team took 108 days and 9 hours to compute for the new value. That's 3.5 times faster than Mullican's efforts and almost twice as fast as the record Google set in 2019. A couple of years ago, Emma Haruka Iwao and her colleagues used the power of 25 Google Cloud virtual machines to calculate for 31,415,926,535,897 digits of Pi within 121 days.

The Swiss team, as The Register explains, used a rig powered by two 32-core AMD Epyc 7542 processors with 1 TB of RAM and a program called y-Cruncher. Its setup had 38 hard drives with 16 TB of storage space each, 34 of which were used for the process while four were used to store the new value of Pi. The team didn't use SSDs, even though their speed would've made the process quicker, because the large number of write cycles needed for Pi calculation would've resulted in high wear and tear on the SSDs, which aren't cheap. That wouldn't have worked, since the university wanted to demonstrate that it's possible to carry out an extremely memory-intensive calculation with limited budget and resources. Guinness has yet to confirm the new record, but after it does, the university plans to publish the new and expanded value of Pi.