Fabrice Bellard

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Fabrice Bellard
Born 1972 (age 42–43)
Grenoble, France
Known for QEMU, FFmpeg, Tiny C Compiler, Bellard's formula
Website bellard.org

Fabrice Bellard (French pronunciation: ​[faˈbʁis bɛˈlaʁ]) is a computer programmer who is best known as the creator of the FFmpeg and QEMU software projects. He has also developed a number of other programs, including the Tiny C Compiler.

He 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.


Fabrice Bellard's entries won the International Obfuscated C Code Contest twice:[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] and 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.

He has since continued his work writing software. In 2004, he wrote the TinyCC Boot Loader, which can compile and boot a Linux kernel from source in less than 15 seconds.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

In 2011 he won a Google–O'Reilly Open Source Award.[8]

In 2014 he proposed the BPG image format as a replacement for JPEG.[9]

Pi calculation record[edit]

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.

On 31 December 2009 he claimed the world record for calculations of π, 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.

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