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IBM Takes Pi To One Billion Digits

IBM’s supercomputer, Blue Gene was designed to continuously run at 1petaFLOPS. IBM is pleased to announce that Blue Gene has found the billionth decimal digit in pi. Many have thought that this calculation was impossible and some estimated that it would take a single processor 1,500 years to compute. IBM’s Blue Gene was able to solve pi to the billionth decimal digit in only a few months. The machine was working steadily in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in IBM Australia.

This recent technology breakthrough will help technologists and mathematicians alike because they now have the equation to create random number sequences. Since random numbers are the primary force behind computer security, such as electronic banking, this is a huge step on IBM’s part. Scientists unveiled the first version of Blue Gene back in 2007. In 2009, President Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to the Blue Gene project, one of the highest awards given to innovators of technology.

What’s unique about Blue Gene/P is that it is at least seven times more energy efficient than any other supercomputer, using many low-power chips that are connected through specialized networks. Four 850MHz PowerPC 450 processors are integrated on each Blue Gene/P chip. The entire system is made up of 294,912 processors and is housed in a 72-rack system. Scientists note that Blue Gene can hold up to 884,736 processors over 216 racks, but that is a ways away.

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