Happy Pi Day. 3.14159265359……

Unless you were alive in 1592, this is the closest to the perfect “Pi day” you’ll ever get.  3/14/15.  And if you want to take a moment to pause at 9:26:53 (am or pm?  Time zone? Country?) we’ll be right there with you. Well, sorta of.

Now, before you laugh, and think Pi is just a number, think again.  It’s almost magical in nature.  It’s effects on our daily lives is found everywhere.  From biology to astrophysics.  In the perspective of history, it can be used as a milestone to mark many different culture’s advancement of math and science.  In short, Pi is a keystone of the modern world.  With out it, we’d never would have gone to the moon. We might sill be on horse back.  And forget electronics.  That fun stuff never would have happened.

(As a side note, on this day, 3/14,  just happens to be Albert Einstein birthday.  Happy birthday!)

We hope you have an awesome Pi day.  We would love to see you in the comments too.  For example, we’d love to hear about and see posts of algorithms that can compute Pi.  How far can you compute Pi on a Raspberry Pi?  Or even child hood stories of your first encounter with that magical number.  Post up, and let us know your thoughts.

We’ll leave you with this cute video after the break, It’s an 8-year-old reciting 200 digits of Pi .  But if you need more digits….There is 1 million digits of pi.

72 thoughts on “Happy Pi Day. 3.14159265359……

    1. Wow. I didn’t realize that standardized date formats had to be run by you before they could be used. In case this was before your time, the reason why the infamous “Y2K Bug” was even an issue is because of the use of the standard 2-digit year format in most of the computer software and hardware from the ’80’s and ’90’s. The rollover to the year 2000 was predicted to be problematic because much of the technology of the time used the 2-digit year format and couldn’t properly handle “00” as a date.
      It turned out that very few devices were actually affected, but since that time it has been more common to see the 4-digit year format used. That doesn’t mean that the 2-digit format is in any way improper.

      1. you said “very few devices were affected” by the y2k ‘bug’, do you happen to know how many and/or what they were? i was under the impression that nothing was affected by the y2k rollover, and it was a theory that was debunked as soon as it happened..

        1. If you believe the Y2K problem was overblown, your impression is wrong. Like many, many people worldwide I worked on combing through and fixing Y2K date-problematic software in the late 90s, in my case it was financial software for a large savings organization.
          Because of that massive amount of effort it was – as people had hoped for – a mitigated problem.

      2. Proper use of the international standard for the representation of dates and times, ISO 8601, would help to avoid confusion and errors. And not only in software. But this is rather off-topic on Pi-day.

      3. “That doesn’t mean that the 2-digit format is in any way improper.”
        Perhaps not, but cherry picking a certain format to make it, superficially, look like something else lies more in the realm of numerology. Surely you can understand that most people interested in the mathematics and science behind PI have little interest in the nonsense that is the pseudo-science of finding meaning in numbers that isn’t there?

    1. Is this also poor grammar day? This article may be in the running for some of the worst copy editing on HAD.

      “In the perspective of history, it can be used as a milestone to mark many different culture’s advancement of math and science.”
      Using the singular culture with “many different” doesn’t make sense.
      Should be “many different cultures’ ” (plural possessive) or “a culture’s” (referring to any particular culture).

      “With out it, we’d never would have gone to the moon.”
      we’d = we would,
      So this is saying “Without it, we would never would have gone to the moon.”

      “with out” -> without
      “child hood” -> childhood

      Get a grammar checker, or review Harbrace; Strunk and White; etc.

  1. I don’t expect everyone to memorize at least 200 digits of PI like me. But if you’re writing an article about that topic you should at least be able to copy and paste the correct sequence of digits. Worst author ever. And don’t tell me you wanted to round up PI ! Idiot

    1. Sheesh. Bad mood much?
      You memorized 200 digits of PI? What a colossal waste of time. That’s time you could have been spending with loved ones, or at least doing something productive. And you call the author of this article an idiot for a simple math mistake?
      Get over yourself already.

    2. The only time you’d need to know it to that precision from memory is when entering it in software that can handle it. However at that point the software already has the constant built in.

      And it seems more useful to remember it to maybe 10 digits max and spend the extra effort to memorize other constants that are of significance. Of which there are so many, the speed of light for instance, (Which apparently is widely rounded off from 299792458 m/s to 300000000 and yet often used in calculations that way.)

    3. The least you could do is say what exactly is wrong. That said, it’s the ellipsis at the end that makes the figure wrong. Unlike you I didn’t memorize 200 digits. But after a concussion in my youth, I took great pains to remember up to this: 3.14159265358979… Now whenever I crash my bike, I take a moment to remember the 12 digits. The important thing is that the ellipsis is there to show that pi is irrational. If I were to round off, I would write the last few digits as 535898 and be done with it. Pi really must be shown as either rounded or irrational, so the mistake is in the combination.

  2. I was rewarded today with cosmic humor. I $&*! you not, my entire office server farm died. Why is not nearly as important as WHEN :) 3-14-15, 9:27am.

    As to the why, the utility company decided to let the magic smoke out a transformer.

      1. Thing is, While Tau is easier with 2D in lots of cases, but at higher dimensions it just makes things more complex.

        So I think the Tau arguments always fall flat for me….

      1. As with any time format since you’re using name sorting:
        15/03/2015 will always be before 16/03/2015
        03/15/2015 will always be before 03/16/2015
        2015/03/15 will always be before 2015/03/16
        even works with epoch.

    1. Because elephants should be measured in grams, the age of your father in seconds, and SI doesn’t even recognize litres anymore… I know how long an inch, a span, a foot, a yard are by looking at my own body. Degrees closely match the daily rotation of the earth to the sun, it all applies pretty easily to me describing my environment.

  3. An interesting idea: Pi has diminishing returns in regards to it’s numerical precision. Realistically it is only observable in nature to say the 30th something digit and only really useful for calculations at around 15 digits. We have plotted and intercept course to a comet, landed, and come back to Earth with only 15 digits. Finding the value of Pi to the 10 Trillionth digit is mostly novelty and not “useful” except in the pursuit of pure knowledge.

      1. With 39 decimal places you can work out the circumference of the entire universe with an error of less than the diameter of a hydrogen atom. Those extra trillion digits are not going to help you.

        1. Oops, sorry, hit report by mistake.

          Anyway, doesn’t that 39 digits assume the universe is finite, and that we can even see that far back. Besides, if the universe is infinite, then I could tell you the circumference without knowing any constants.

    1. I believe its used to test errors in computer chips.
      You can pick a few things, but I guess its a good property as something everyone can agree on its real value upto a precision with no ambiguity.

    1. Did you know that we could have a Pi year? It would be seven months long and each month would be of different length: 31+ 41 + 59 + 26 + 53 +58 + 97 and the whole year would still be 365 days long.

  4. You were asking for algorithms to “create PI”. We did iterative approximations for PI in school some many decades ago. One nice approximation I remember is this:


    One. One. Three. Three. Five. Five.

    If you draw a line over 113, then drop the line between the two 3 and underline 355, you get a fraction:


    turns into:


    …. which approximates PI. Not to the last digit, mind you … but still the “visual representation” is one that I like.

    1. These rational represetation of PI are usefull when working with integer math on MCU. From least precise to more precise one can use: 22/7, 355/113, 52163/16604, etc

  5. Well, today is only the ultimate pi day this century if you go with the “truncate” lifestyle paradigm. If you go with the “rounding”, then *NEXT* year is the big year, for 3/14/16.

    1. “There are 1 million digits of pi.” Which would still be misleading, since pi has many more digits.

      “Here are 1 million digits of pi.” or “There are 1 million digits of pi at the linked web page.”

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