Pi, or Π (and not pie) has a massive online following. Case in point, just take a look at how well Pi Day did in regards to Internet popularity. For those who don’t know, pi (Π) is an irrational number, representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, at least according to definitions. While the explanation may not clarify things for you, especially if you’re not a math geek, the attraction to the number is that it never ends.
Because math problems are difficult enough without the idea of infinite numbers, pi’s numeric value has been “shortened” to equal 3.14159, which is only five decimal places deep. However, when discussing their project, design firm TWO-N indicates pi has been verified up to 10 trillion decimals. To give people an idea of just how many numbers are represented with pi, TWO-N has created an SWF/image that visualizes 4 million of these decimals. According the page’s source code, the SWF is sized at 1170 x 600 pixels, giving them the necessary space to render each digit as a 1×1 pixel dot. As the file is moused over, corresponding numbers pop up, like so:
Aside from the dimensions of the Flash file, TWO-N’s META description reveals an interesting tidbit concerning pi:
An average person can read out approximately 120 digits/min. Keeping this pace it would take more than 158,000 years to recite the 10 trillion digits of Π discovered this year and roughly 3 weeks to read out the 4 million digits visualized here.
If you want to test that idea for either the 4 million or 10 trillion, at least post a video of the numeric recital. As for the pi image, it is searchable, meaning if you want to see if a particular digit string appears in pi, you can find out. Consider the sheer amount of individual decimals featured in the irrational number, there’s a good chance the string will be found, as long as it’s not a repeating string of numbers (555555) for instance.
Lastly, the page’s HTML title will undoubtedly meet the approval of pi geeks everywhere. It is as follows:
How long did it take for you to recite that particular string?