updated 03:26 pm EDT, Fri March 15, 2013
Graphics cards beats previous record that used 1,000 CPUs
A researcher has broken the record for calculating the mathematical constant Pi, by using a number of computers running with Nvidia graphics cards. Ed Karrels of Santa Clara University used the GPUs in the graphics cards instead of normal computer processors in order to calculate pi to eight-quadrillion places.
Taking place over the course of 35 days, Karrels created a program in CUDA that ran on three sets of computers. One computer contained four Nvidia GTX 690 graphics cards, another contained two Nvidia GTX 680 cards, and a bank of 24 computers at the Santa Clara University Design Center, each containing a single Nvidia GTX 570. A second run to double-check the results took a shorter length at 26 days, with the time savings credited to a new version of the CUDA programming tools.
The previous holders of the record, a team from Yahoo, used a cluster of 1,000 computers using only the processor, taking 23 days to calculate pi to two-quadrillion places, according to an Nvidia company blog
Karrels will be speaking at the GPU Technology Conference on Tuesday to discuss his findings and the work behind the new, longer calculation of pi.