A collaboration between 54-year-old system engineer Shigeru Kondo and American computer science student Alexander Yee resulted in the successful calculation of Pi to the 5-trillionth digit using only a homemade home computer and a piece of custom software called y-cruncher. The 5-trillion milestone shattered the previous record of 2.7 trillion digits, nearly doubling past efforts. The calculation took a period of three months to compile.
Sure, the computer being used wasn’t some run of the mill PC. It was an $18,000 custom-made home computer with 61 GB of available memory to play around with. But the point is that it wasn’t some fancy-pants supercomputer built by the academic community or government engineers. Just a pair of geeks with a little too much time on their hands.