Playing with Pi: Google publishes a world record and fun visual and acoustic evaluation


A few days ago, Google could announce a milestone in math: Here you go Pi converted to 100 trillion digits – new record. Very few people will probably need this full number, but it wouldn’t be Google if it wasn’t offered and presented in a fun way. Some tools have been released to evaluate the full length of the Pi in a completely different way.

google pi album cover

For many centuries, mathematicians have set themselves the task of calculating the number of the circle pi as accurately as possible. The average user will get perfectly accurate results with 6-7 decimal places, but more is needed for very accurate calculations. So the number was counted more and more precisely, the deeper meaning fading away as the number of decimal places increased. Even for astronomical calculations with gigantic numbers, you probably won’t need more than a few hundred decimal places (correct me if I’m wrong).

For this reason, calculating Pi is primarily one thing: a fun challenge for mathematicians. For many years it was a job for powerful computers and supercomputers, but with Google’s entry into this area, it took it to a whole new level. Already in 2019, 31.4 trillion decimal places were calculated, and a few months ago it was possible to calculate a whole 100 trillion decimal places. It has already been announced that they don’t want to stop, so they’ll likely face 250 trillion digits as the next-largest “beautiful” number.

Although no one needs this number, it attracts a lot of interest, so Google not only announced this record in scientific circles, but also makes it available for free to all users with a file size of 515 terabytes. The number can be downloaded in its entirety, spit out individual numbers at any time, but also prepare the whole thing a little nicer and more suitable for the masses. You’ll find all the content to try for yourself on this page.

pi star

Pi as a graphic

An interactive graphic has been published in which the number pi is plotted on a graph from start to finish. The curve is always drawn from one digit to the next. After a while, it is easy to see which digit is the most common and which string of numbers is the most common in Pi. Unfortunately, you can only set the starting point, but not the speed. Drawing is progressing very quickly, but it would take several hundred thousand years to complete the artwork.

Unfortunately, you can specify a starting point, but then the drawing just starts there. There is no graphic with all 100 trillion curves – at least I haven’t found any. It may also be because after a few hundred thousand curves nothing can be seen at all and we get a completely filled ten-pointed star.


Pi as a piano piece

Why would you only visualize numbers when you can also reproduce them acoustically? You have created a virtual piano, divided it into ten areas for the numbers 0 to 9 and pressed a key for each number. By default this is played at 314 BPM, but you can set any other speed. You should start the entire piece very quickly and choose a high BPM number. Because at 314 beats per minute and 100 trillion keystrokes, it takes 605,516 years to hear an entire piece. Then the next ten thousand generations and descendants will still have something with 😉

pi graphics

Pi as a work of art

The above image was published three years ago, which generated 31.4 trillion different graphics and combined them into a single image. The whole thing is very complex and you can read carefully how it works on this Google Project page. My head is spinning as soon as I slide over it.

Download and download Pi

And if you want to judge yourself, you can google the entire Pi number with 100 trillion digits. You only need 515 terabytes of storage, and possibly some decent bandwidth to download this over the weekend. Once you do that, you still need an application that will open such a huge text file for you without waiting for the next weekend or pushing your computer to the limit. Then you can start memorizing.

If you’re frugal, you can use Google’s free API to access anywhere on the Pi. With a little automation, you can output any strand of the Pi without having to download the entire number immediately. All information and many other infographics and links can be found on this Google page or in the following article:

» New world record: Google Cloud calculates the round number Pi to 100 trillion digits and makes it available for free

» Today is Pi Day: Google places an instructive Easter egg in a pocket calculator – repeat decimal places

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