Student Calculates 3 Billion Digits of Pi

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011  |  Updated 3:29 PM EDT
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Student Calculates 3 Billion Digits of Pi

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BINARY CODE, NUMBER 114

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A budding math wizard eeked super-computer like performance out of his home P.C.

Manbir Gulati, 15, wrote a program on his laptop computer that could calculate pi out to 3 billion digits.  It took just under 24 hours for his computer to complete the trick.

"I was like wow, 3 billion," Gulati told the Frederick News-Post.  "I didn't expect it to happen that fast."

The record for the number of digits of pi calculated is held by a 55-year-old Japanese programmer.  A program writte by Shieguru Kondo calculated 5 trillion digits of pi, taking 90 days.

Gulati has been writing computer programs for one year now.  He admitted that calculating pi does not have a lot of every day uses, but the process has helped him understand computers better.

"You can break the numbers down into the smallest component," he said to the Frederick News-Post, "and feed it into the computer in the fastest possible way."

After reading a story about French scientist Fabrice Bellard, Gulati was inspired to write the program. 

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