Mathematics: As American as Apple Pi

As American as Apple Pi

Pi, as every schoolchild used to know, is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. But in the electronic age, the ancient Babylonian constant -- or rather the accurate calculation of its value -- has become a symbol of computational prowess. In the 1950s the U.S. led the way, churning out estimates of pi accurate to thousands and tens of thousands of decimal places. Then the French took the lead. With the emergence of Japan's supercomputer industry in the 1980s, pi has become an almost exclusive province of the Japanese. The last world record, 201 million digits,...

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