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Happy Pi Day!

Pi is a number with a few decimal places. Infinite, in fact. The first few digits are 3.14.

Pi Day is on March 14th each year, AKA 03-14. Get it? Hah!

Here are some ways to do the Pi.

2022 - Digit Distribution

The code

I meant to do this in 2021, but I missed it last year due to life. My mistake.

This takes the digits computed with the Chudnovsky algorithm (see 2020 below), and determines the distribution of the digits. Number are reported using a System.Timer in .NET 6 on my new-to-me laptop (Linux, i7 10510U CPU, 40GB RAM).

Here's what the first 100k looks like. It took ~20 seconds to get this result.

First 100k Digit Distribution Chart

Here's what the first 500k looks like. It took ~560 seconds to get this result.

First 100k Digit Distribution Chart

Note: The code does not generate this chart. That would be awesome, and I hope I remember to add it in a future year when I have a lot more time.

I started 1M a few moments ago. I'm guessing it will be a little bit before I get a result. And I did 10M for a few hours and it never completed. Maybe it would overnight, I'm not sure.

As for the distrubtions, I had assumed that up around 100k digits they would look a bit more uniformly distributed, and 500k would look really close. They're less close than I thought! Not a really weird scale though. Maybe I can run 1M and 10M overnight and see what those look like.

In future years, there are probably pretty straightforward ways to improve the total calculation time. If BigNumber's divison is fairly cheap, I could see simply breaking the number up into N parts and doing a map-reduce style computation on the numbers. I'm sure there are way more clever ways though.

2020 - Chudnovsky algorithm

The code.

This takes the form:

π ≈ (426880 * sqrt(10005)) / (13591409a + 545140134b)
a = ∑ a_k
a_k = -((24 * (6k - 5)(2k - 1)(6k - 1)) / (k^3)(640320^3)
b = ∑ (a_k * k)

This particular math makes essentially no sense to me. I don't understand the constants, or why they work. This is more interesting to me because of how quickly it works. For reference, this implementation punched out about 100,000 digits in about 10 seconds, and 1 million digits took about 18 minutes on my machine. Nilakantha took significantly longer to calculate a small fraction of the same digits.

Here's the value it got for 1000 digits: 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679821480865132823066470938446095505822317253594081284811174502841027019385211055596446229489549303819644288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091456485669234603486104543266482133936072602491412737245870066063155881748815209209628292540917153643678925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116094330572703657595919530921861173819326117931051185480744623799627495673518857527248912279381830119491298336733624406566430860213949463952247371907021798609437027705392171762931767523846748184676694051320005681271452635608277857713427577896091736371787214684409012249534301465495853710507922796892589235420199561121290219608640344181598136297747713099605187072113499999983729780499510597317328160963185950244594553469083026425223082533446850352619311881710100031378387528865875332083814206171776691473035982534904287554687311595628638823537875937519577818577805321712268066130019278766111959092164195740. It looks like the last four digits are off, but is otherwise accurate. This took less than one second to come up with.

2019 - Nilakantha series

The code.

This takes the form:

π ≈ 3 + 4 / (2*3*4) - 4 / (4*5*6) + 4 / (6*7*8) - 4 / (8*9*10) ...


π ≈ 3 + ∑ 4 / (n*n+1*n+2), n = 2 and goes to infinity

The implementation I did is particularly slow at larger values, partially at least because it generates and holds in memory the actual full sequence of steps instead of dropping each value. But it's good enough for a before bed game.

Here's the value it got for System.Int32.MaxValue steps (a little over 2.1 billion): 3.1415926535897932384626432850M. The first 27 digits after the decimal are correct.


Different ways to calculate Pi. Updated every March 14th






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