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