Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pi May Be Computed to 100-Billionth Place

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pi May Be Computed to 100-Billionth Place

Article excerpt

Peter Borwein, a mathematician at Simon Fraser University, has devised a way to calculate the value of pi to 100 billion places on a home computer.

That is, if you have the time.

"I predict some smart kid working on a home computer will use these methods to compute the 100-billionth digit of pi in the very near future," Borwein said.

Pi, as you may remember, is the Greek letter designation of a never-ending number that is produced when the circumference of a circle is divided by its diameter.

Rounded off to 10 places it's 3.141592654, but mathematicians have continually stretched the actual number. The record so far is 4,294,967,286 places.

In a new vein, what Borwein and two colleagues - Simon Plouffe of the university and David Bailey of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - have been able to do is come up with an algorithm that allows them to arrive at a final number for pi, even when they have not computed all the numbers in between. …

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