Yesterday, Alexander Yee and Shigeru Kondo announced that they had set a new Pi world record, calculating it to five trillion digits - some 22TB of data - using a single custom-built computer. The five trillionth digit? It's a two.
Kondo, a Japanese engineer, built the $US18,000 machine, and Yee, an American computer-science student, supplied the software: y-cruncher, a multi-threaded Pi program. The computation took 90 days in all.
But beyond setting the world record, what Yee and Kondo really wanted was to push the very limits of personal computing. Or, as they put it, to see "how much hardware can we cram into one machine and still make it faster?" Well...
Processor 2 x Intel Xeon X5680 @ 3.33 GHz - (12 physical cores, 24 hyperthreaded) Memory 96 GB DDR3 @ 1066 MHz - (12 x 8 GB - 6 channels) - Samsung (M393B1K70BH1) Motherboard Asus Z8PE-D12 Hard Drives 1 TB SATA II (Boot drive) - Hitachi (HDS721010CLA332) 3 x 2 TB SATA II (Store Pi Output) - Seagate (ST32000542AS) 16 x 2 TB SATA II (Computation) - Seagate (ST32000641AS) Raid Controller 2 x LSI MegaRaid SAS 9260-8i Operating System Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64 Built By Shigeru Kondo
Kondo said he was alone in his room around midnight when the five trillionth digit dropped, though both his mother and his wife, he said, showed "no particular feelings" about his achievement. [NumberWorld via Slashdot, Phys Org via PopSci via Gawker]