Homemade Computer Sets Records In The Trillions

Shigeru Kondo is 56 and has already twice set the record for the most digits of pi calculated. His most recent record, 10 trillion digits, took a year to complete on his home-built supercomputer. Host Audi Cornish found out more about the computer, which caused a little family strife because it had to share electricity.

AUDIE CORNISH, host: To Japan now, where a food company engineer just accomplished an amazing feat again.


CORNISH: And who knows, maybe next year he'll do it again. That's because Shigeru Kondo last week calculated the never-ending mathematical constant, pi, to ten trillion digits. That doubles the previous world record held by Shigeru Kondo. Kondo did it all on a 48-terabyte computer he built in his own home. The computer began working on the problem a year ago. Two months in, a drive failure. Back to square one. But from then on, the machine faithfully churned out numbers all the way to the ten trillion digit finish line - even through Japan's monstrous earthquake. Kondo's wife complained about the electric bill - nearly $400 a month - even though the 104-degree temperature in the computer room made it a great place to dry laundry. The computer occasionally overloads the fuse box, but Kondo is always ready with a backup power source, because you have to prepared for the unexpected when you calculate an unending number.

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