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Yahoo! boffin scores pi's two quadrillionth bit

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A Yahoo! engineer has calculated pi's two quadrillionth bit using Hadoop, the open source distributed number-crunching platform based on Google's proprietary MapReduce technology.

When pi is in binary, the two quadrillionth bit is 0.

Hadoop-happy Yahooligan Tsz Wo (Nicholas) Sze set this pi world record on a cluster spanning over 1,000 nodes, and the calculation required (only) twenty-three days.

The feat was originally reported by the BBC, and Yahoo! trumpeted Sze's accomplishment today during a press gathering at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

To be clear, Sze has not calculated two quadrillion pi digits. He has merely calculated the two quadrillionth bit when pi is expressed in binary. The record for the full calculation of pi is 2.7 trillion digits, set in January by Fabrice Bellard.

The sort of single bit calculation practiced by Sze can more easily be broken into tiny pieces that can be crunched in parallel. Thus the Hadoop happiness. ®

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