Pi and the edge of computer science
- By William Jackson
- Mar 14, 2012
If you think about, you can figure out why Congress chose March 14 to commemorate pi.
Pi is a never-ending irrational number used to calculate the area of a circle or the volume of a cylinder. It's been calculated to more than a trillion digits by modern computers, and, as scientists sought to calculate it with greater and greater precision, has pushed the boundaries of computing technology.
Why is Pi Day March 14? As Bill Jackson writes at GCN.com, you only need to think about your high-school math. "3.14 are the first three digits of Pi, which represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter," Jackson writes. "If you are a purist you celebrated this occasion at 1:59 a.m. today (159 being the next three digits). If you use a 12-hour clock you could also celebrate at 1:59 p.m."
To read Jackson's full article and learn more about the history and uses of pi in computer science, click here.
William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.