## Tuesday, September 19, 2006

### Pointless Factoid XVII

The calculation of the digits of Pi is a method occasionally used to test the capabilities of computers.

Another fun fact about Pi, since learning of the concept in whatever grade of school I was in, I have yet to ever encounter any situation where that knowledge was of any degree of relevance.

Bridget said...

That's how I feel about most of what I learned inside the classroom throughout all of high school. On the other hand, the things I learned outside the classroom during school, say, in the halls, backseats of cars, etc, turned out to be incredibly useful stuff. :)

Gurn said...

You can use it when you want to annoy magicians ;)

"alright, think of a number."
"um... okay"

Sara said...

You left me a comment on my blog... I only had to wait 4 or 5 weeks for my results.

Moon Goddess said...

ditto

Anonymous said...

you will find it later on how to use it

Kevin said...

Pi is pretty pervasive. Probably the most common use is to figure out areas of such things a cylinders and spheres. For example, to know how much paint you need to cover a barrel. Or how much rubber you need to make a ball. Maybe even how big a round pan you need to bake a cake that you usually make in a square pan. But pi can be found in many other areas. Pi turns up all over the place in probability. For example, if you get a bunch of toothpicks and draw a bunch of parallel lines on the ground spaced by the length of a toothpick, and then drop the toothpicks randomly on the ground, the proportion of toothpicks touching a line is 2/pi, about .637. Perhaps you don't think this counts as everyday life, but these days a lot of computer transactions are encrypted. Some of the algorithms involved in encryption deal with numbers which are "relatively prime", which means they don't share any factors besides 1. It turns out that if you pick two numbers at random, the probability that they are relatively prime is 6/pi^2, which is about .608. Pi often turns up in physics equations, too, but you probably wouldn't think of that as everyday life.

Doug said...

I like how your post 'n' post title contradict.