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Record-setting Linux

Jan 26, 2010, 12:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols)

[ Thanks to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols for this link. ]

"I know the value of pi (Π), the irrational number you get when you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter, as far as 3.14159; after that, I'm clueless. Recently, French software engineer Fabrice Bellard calculated the value of pi to 2.7 trillion numbers — with a souped-up but otherwise ordinary home PC running Red Hat's Fedora Linux.

"Bellard, best known for being the founding developer of FFMpeg, the highly respected audio/video program for converting music and movies from one format to another, took on pi not because he was "especially interested in the digits of pi", but because he was interested in "the various algorithms involved to do arbitrary-precision arithmetic. Optimizing these algorithms to get good performance is a difficult programming challenge." You can say that again."

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