Fabrice Bellard

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Fabrice Bellard
Born1972 (age 47–48)
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique
Known forQEMU, FFmpeg, Tiny C Compiler, Bellard's formula

Fabrice Bellard (French pronunciation: ​[fa.bʁis bɛ.laʁ]) is a computer programmer who created the FFmpeg, QEMU, and Tiny C Compiler software projects. He also developed Bellard's formula for calculating single digits of pi.

Life and career[edit]

Bellard was born in 1972 in Grenoble, France and went to school in Lycée Joffre (Montpellier), where, at age 17, he created the executable compressor LZEXE.[1] After studying at École Polytechnique, he went on to specialize at Télécom Paris in 1996.

In 1997, he discovered a new, faster formula to calculate single digits of pi in binary representation, known as Bellard's formula. It is a variant of the Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula.

Bellard's entries won the International Obfuscated C Code Contest three times.[2] In 2000, he won in the category "Most Specific Output"[3] for a program that implemented the modular Fast Fourier Transform and used it to compute the then biggest known prime number, 26972593−1.[4] In 2001, he won in the category "Best Abuse of the Rules" for a tiny compiler (the source code being only 3 kB in size) of a strict subset of the C language for i386 Linux. The program itself is written in this language subset, i.e. it is self-hosting. In 2018, he won in the category "Most inflationary"[5] for an image decompression program.[6]

In 2004, he wrote the TinyCC Boot Loader, which can compile and boot a Linux kernel from source in less than 15 seconds.[7] In 2005, he designed a system that could act as an Analog or DVB-T Digital TV transmitter by directly generating a VHF signal from a standard PC and VGA card.[8] In 2011, he created a minimal PC emulator written in pure JavaScript. The emulated hardware consists of a 32-bit x86 compatible CPU, a 8259 Programmable Interrupt Controller, a 8254 Programmable Interrupt Timer, and a 16450 UART.[9]

On 31 December 2009 he claimed the world record for calculations of pi, having calculated it to nearly 2.7 trillion places in 90 days. Slashdot wrote: "While the improvement may seem small, it is an outstanding achievement because only a single desktop PC, costing less than US$3,000, was used—instead of a multi-million dollar supercomputer as in the previous records."[10][11] On 2 August 2010 this record was eclipsed by Shigeru Kondo who computed 5 trillion digits, although this was done using a server-class machine running dual Intel Xeon processors, equipped with 96 GB of RAM.

In 2011 he won an O'Reilly Open Source Award.[12]

In 2014 he proposed the Better Portable Graphics (BPG) image format as a replacement for JPEG.[13]

In July 2019 he released QuickJS, a small and embeddable Javascript engine.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "LZEXE Home Page". bellard.org. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Previous IOCCC Winners". www0.us.ioccc.org. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Previous IOCCC Winners". www0.us.ioccc.org. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Who won the 25th IOCCC". www.ioccc.org. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  6. ^ "Description of Fabrice Bellard's image decompression entry".
  7. ^ "TCCBOOT Compiles And Boots Linux In 15 Seconds". Slashdot. 2004-10-25.
  8. ^ "Digital TV Transmitter using a VGA card". Slashdot. 2005-06-13.
  9. ^ "Javascript PC Emulator – Technical Notes". Fabrice Bellard. 2011-05-14.
  10. ^ New Pi Computation Record Using a Desktop PC January 5, 2010
  11. ^ Jason Palmer (2010-01-06). "Pi calculated to 'record number' of digits". BBC News.
  12. ^ "OSCON 2011: O'Reilly Open Source Awards". Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  13. ^ "BPG Image format". Fabrice Bellard. 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  14. ^ "QuickJS Javascript Engine". bellard.org. Retrieved 2019-07-11.

External links[edit]