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Gigapixel Tapestries & Gigadecimal Pi

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-machine dept.

Supercomputing 215

RobotWisdom writes "The new New Yorker magazine has posted two long non-technical articles about the Chudnovsky brothers and their homebrew supercomputers. One is a 1992 article about how they calculated pi to over two billion decimal places using a $70,000 cluster with 16 nodes. The other is a brandnew piece about how they spent months creating a seamless multi-gigabyte image of a fifteenth century tapestry for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tapestries are essentially pixel-art on a non-rigid (cloth) matrix, so the manual labor of photographing it inch by inch had introduced many tiny deformations in the images, which they had to mathematically iron out. Old lo-res pix of the tapestries are on the Met's site, pix of the brothers are in the world brain."

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GODDAMN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133637)

If. I. ever. meet Ben Fucking Franklin, I WILL KICK HIS ASS!

Re:GODDAMN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133687)

Agreed.

Re:GODDAMN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!!! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133832)

Wasn't it actally Al "Teh Intarweb" Gore who invented the Daylight Saving?

Re:GODDAMN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133928)

Amen!

Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (4, Funny)

Bradee-oh! (459922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133648)

Link?

:)

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133760)

not exactly redundant when the supposed link to the images is a google image search which does not include them...

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (2, Informative)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133945)

Read it again. That is a link to pictures of the brothers.

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134058)

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (0)

macaulay805 (823467) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133774)

Link?

.... you'd better watch out before /. gets midevil on your hinnie.

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133813)

It's medieval, not midevil.

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133869)

I know this is intended at a joke, but I saw a research project at Southampton University about 5 years ago that allowed multi-gigabyte images to be viewed over the Internet. Each image was split into small tiles, and lower resolution tiles were made of each segment. The entire image could be viewed at low resolution, and the user could then zoom in to the full resolution on any given area. The intended use for this system was high resolution scanned images of paintings in art galleries.

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (1)

pomakis (323200) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133972)

I know this is intended at a joke, but I saw a research project at Southampton University about 5 years ago that allowed multi-gigabyte images to be viewed over the Internet. Each image was split into small tiles, and lower resolution tiles were made of each segment. The entire image could be viewed at low resolution, and the user could then zoom in to the full resolution on any given area.

You mean like mapquest.com or maps.google.com?

Re:Gigabyte, gigapixel artwork? (3, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134295)

I've used a Flash-based system called Zoomify [zoomify.com] to display higher resolution mosaics (up to 50 megapixels, myself). It works well, but since it's all based on jpegs, the tile deconstruction process can introduce more compression artifacts and a little bit of softening. It's worth the space and super-simple to install and use, in my experience.

I don't care who you are. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133650)

That's some lame shit!

Pie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133652)

Mmmmm, pie.

If you're in New York (5, Informative)

seringen (670743) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133667)

If you're in New York, you should definitely check out the Cloisters, where the Unicorn Tapestries are held. It's right at the Northern Tip of Manhattan. A number of my friends have gone to the Met and not seen it, thinking that it'd be there. The Cloisters is probably the most stunning collection of medieval art in America in a very beautiful setting, so you should definitely check it out!

I don't wanna sound like a queer or nothing (1)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133864)

But I think unicorns are really kickass!

Re:I don't wanna sound like a queer or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133981)

Yeah, but unicorns aren't as neat as Ligers!

Re:I don't wanna sound like a queer or nothing (0, Offtopic)

MechaShiva (872964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133998)

I don't wanna sound like a queer or anything, but I think you've got a nice ass.

Re:If you're in New York (1)

civman2 (773494) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134198)

I went there on a field trip for my Modern World History class, and I would also recommend it. The Cloisters museums features many re-built sections of medieval monastaries, and is an excellent example of Christian art throughout the centuries. I'd recommend going in the fall; the view is quite breath-taking with the foliage.

Re:If you're in New York (2, Informative)

michaelaiello (841620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134464)

If you do make it to NY, feel free to stop by Polytechnic University (6 metrotech in Brooklyn). The Chudnovsky brothers are here (on the 3rd floor) and are currently building a supercomputer for IBM. http://www.poly.edu/polypress/chudnovsky.cfm [poly.edu]

Link (1)

carlcmc (322350) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133668)

Link to the multigigabyte image was not linked from the article on the front page of slashdot.org

Prepare for a cataclysmic event.

Re:Link (1)

Sogol (43574) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133702)

That's too bad. I was looking forward to downloading a multigigabyte image.

Re:Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133715)

Don't worry. A torrent will be posted shortly.

April fools (5, Funny)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133685)

Is this another April Fools article?

David told me that they were working with I.B.M. to design what may be the world's most powerful supercomputer. The machine, code-named C64, is being built for a United States government agency.

I mean, I loved my C64 too, but it's no supercomputer.

The Cloisters at the Met (5, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133711)

I was just at that museum to see the tapestries in question. I have a few high-resolution (multiple-image mosaic) photographs of the architectural elements on my Quick Pix Gallery [halley.cc] . I also took and stitched images of almost every tapestry in the building, but have not posted them online at this time.

It's a fascinating structure, with excellent pieces for close inspection. I encourage anyone within a couple hours drive of Manhattan to take the trip to see these in person. It's at the north end of Manhattan at Fort Tryon Park (there's also one high-resolution picture in my gallery from the park).

Re:The Cloisters at the Met (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133839)

Nice pictures.

Re:The Cloisters at the Met (2, Funny)

Sp1n3rGy (69101) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133870)

You sure this [halley.cc] isn't quake3?

Re:The Cloisters at the Met (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134072)

Wow, the trans-atlantic colonists really go to some lengths to pretend they have a history. A fake gothic chapel!

The hardest technical problem... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133720)

...was breaking the tapestry's copy protection. Starting in the 14th century, nobility decreed all tapestries contain a pattern of knotting designed to prevent any scanning or printing of tapestries. By the end of the 14th century, all scanner and printer manufacturers had added this anti-tapestry copying technology into their products.

Re:The hardest technical problem... (4, Funny)

Sotogonesu (705553) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133980)

They just used a multi-threaded architecture.

Re:The hardest technical problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134027)

He,

the Met-site seems to mention 1495-1505.

This means late 15th, early 16th century.
America was barely discovered, at least from the Western European point of view ;-).
The religious unrest was about to get ugly.
Print was available for less than 40 years...

Regards

Re:The hardest technical problem... (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134347)

In the end, everybody felt stupid when they realized you could get around the copy protection simply by holding down the shift key while scanning.

Why? (2)

amanox (862297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133730)

I can see why one would like to calcutate Pi as far as possoble, .. but tapestries ? Spending months on a multi-gigabyte picture of a tapestrie? Geez, and it's probably not even "correct" as they had to mathematicly correct some deformation or whatever errors. Seriously, what's the point? Are they doing this "just because we can", or is there some "higher goal"?

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133798)

How about reconstruction and preservation? These tapestries are in terrible condition, compared to when they were completed in the 1400s. Any work that is done on them is done with magnifying glass, tweezers and a well-trained hand. Any reference works should be as clear and detailed as possible. They don't want it to erode any more than it already has, and they had no such detailed records of it in previous ages and conditions.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133862)

Any reference works should be as clear and detailed as possible.

Right, but wouldn't it make the most sense to get as high a quality reference possible BEFORE you start to physically muck with the original? After all, after you're done you can always create another reference master if everything turns ok hunkydory.

Re:Why? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133801)

Sure, because preserving very old and beautiful art from decay is stupid, but, by god, I must have Pi to the 5 millionth digit. 4,999,999 digits are not enough!

Re:Why? (1)

hpxchan (827740) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133857)

You must not understand digital graphics very well.

The higher the resolution/size of the image, the better. Formula below:

[Resolution of screen] ^ [Resolution of image] = [Quality in liters]

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134025)

As long as we're being as accurate as possible; calculate quality in milliliters. People obviously have a problem with decimal places, so we should eliminate as much as possible. Maybe even nanoliters...

Re:Why? (1)

amanox (862297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134397)

I understand digital pictures very well, and that's exactly one of the reasons I did ask this question. Perhaps posted a bit too quicly, but let me elaborate a bit : I do know that more megapixels means more detail (at least in theory.. depends on the size and quelity of the sensor). They used Leica, so at least they used some decent material, but still.. colour is what this was all about. They had to correct the picture with some complex calculations -> no matter how cool those calculations might be, you loose colour and detail. Representation : allthough you can accurately represent a colour digitally, it doesn't mean you can catch it perfectly. To be quite honest, I don't know a single digital camera that can -> all camera's ( except Sigme DS9 and DS10 .. different sensor) use interpolation to calculate the colour of a single pixel (do a simple google search and you'll find out why). Next : representation : you need a pretty fine-tuned and nicely callibrated screen to visualise the actual correct colour.. joy : how may folks have that ? Prints? I'm not even going to go into that one.. diffent inkt and diffent paper, and you get a whole different colour. Point being : although the colour might be close, I double it will be correct, and that whas exactly what this project is all about. So their giga-pixel picture might be nice to look at, but it misses it's goal.

Re:Why? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133958)

To those who modded this troll: Just because you disagree with someone's thought does not make it a troll. I think this is a perfectly reasonable question.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134100)

You can do very cool stuff with a good picture of the back of a tapestry.

The colours in tapestries are usually vegetable dyes and they fade very badly with exposure to light. If you go around a museum, the tapestries almost always look dingy and you need to use a lot of imagination to try to picture how they might have originally looked.

However the back of the tapestry has been kept in the dark and the colours there are still dazzling. So ... if you have a good picture of the front and the back and you can resample the back image to get it to line up with the front to within a knot size, you can use the back colour to "re-tint" the front image and get an excellent visualisation of how the tapestry might have appeared soon after it was woven (you need to take a bit of care with colour management too).

A friend of mine did this as part of his PhD thesis. I can't find any of his images online (I guess there would be copyright problems), I'll see if I can dig some low-res ones up.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134137)

Ah! Found it. [dynamic-image.de]

Re:Why? (1)

tjebe (830017) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134225)

Digital reproduction and preservation of a fragile and decaying piece of art is a waste of time. Whereas the religious following of /. articles, now *that* is time well spent.

Gigapixel pie? (2, Funny)

aldeng (804728) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133741)

That's a lot of pie! Thanks, I'll be here all week.

What were they thinking?? (4, Funny)

datbox (800756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133744)

One is a 1992 article about how they calculated pi to over two billion decimal places

Hrmm.. They should've just rounded down? ;)

Looks fine to me... (0)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133748)

Why do we need anything more than the low-res picture that they already have? Going super-high-res simply magnifies the imperfections. Art isn't meant to be enjoyed with your face pressed up against it.

Re:Looks fine to me... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133845)

Why do we need anything more than the low-res picture that they already have? Going super-high-res simply magnifies the imperfections. Art isn't meant to be enjoyed with your face pressed up against it.

This has got to be one of the most short sighted posting on /., EVER. Or a clever troll. Art wasn't meant to enjoy from 40 feet away either (well actually some art is, but not in this case). Just like with movies/photos/music, it's always better to have the highest quality original and you can always downgrade for mass copies. Imagine if something were to happen to the tapestry itself, without a very high quality scan, you'd be screwed.

I met the curator (1, Interesting)

Seft (659449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133749)

I met the chap in charge of tapestries at the Met. He was very nice, but I just couldn't quite understand his passion for the medium. Some of them were rather nice, but I'd much rather have been in the Met's excellent old-master or C20 galleries.

Still, I love the way the author describes him as 'thoughtful'.

How Inefficient. (0, Troll)

Cruithne (658153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133788)

They should have just used photoshop! (haha)

Bad programming (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133793)

The zooming seems to work wrong. For example, I tried to get a close look at some faces, and at the maximum magnification half the faces get cut on the bottom. Even when clicking on the bottom of the image it still scrolls it up, which is annoying.

Pi Accuracy (2, Interesting)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133834)

How do you ascertain that your 2 billion decimal places of pi are correct? After about 50 significant decimal places doesn't the accuracy get too small to test against reality? There are formulas for calculating pi but it would then seem that your "accuracy" in calculating pi just depends on which formula you chose and how big your power bill was that month. Is the act of calculating pi still a modern yardstick of computer accuracy or is this just what you need to do to get a feature in the New Yorker?

Re:Pi Accuracy (1)

MC68000 (825546) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133956)

Many infinite series have error bounds to prevent just this sort of thing.

Re:Pi Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133983)

You should take a course on math some time.

Troll Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134270)

You should take a course on English sometime.

Re:Pi Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133987)


"Reality" has no meaning when talking about mathematical concepts.

Re:Pi Accuracy (1)

ect5150 (700619) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134000)

After about 50 significant decimal places doesn't the accuracy get too small to test against reality?

IANAM (... not a mathematician), but using some basic calculus, you can derive formulas for computing/estimating Pi, and in the same text book, its typically shown how to calculate the accuracy of the calculation (i.e. - maitain a minimum level of error). That said, there should really be nothing to test against. Its not statistics.

Re:Pi Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134059)

Pi to 2 million decimal places? What a ridiculous waste of money ($70,000) and time! I mean, who would ever even need to know pi to such an accuracy? Who even cares? It's meaningless and useless.

Re:Pi Accuracy (4, Insightful)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134226)

Pi's definition is mathematical, not physical. No one really knows the exact ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter, but it definitely varies depending on how curved space-time is in the vicinity of the circle, and on the size of the circle.

Pi is 4 x (1 - 1/3 + 1/5 - 1/7 + 1/9 + 1/11 ...). (Or the limit of that series as its length tends to infinity, for the mathematical formalists among you.) Your accuracy in computing pi depends on how many terms of the series you can calculate (actually, there are alternative formulations that converge much more rapidly, but are less easy to write down in ASCII.)

Re:Pi Accuracy (1)

TheWormThatFlies (788009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134466)

There's no reason for them to be inaccurate. Pi is a number which has a specific value, defined in terms of geometric constants. There is an absolute formula for working out how to express pi as a decimal number which goes on for ever. It's the sum of an infinite series of fractions. The further you sum the infinite series on a computer, the closer the decimal number you produce will be to pi, unless you make a mistake in your calculations. There is nothing to test for, and nothing to test against - you're not discovering an unknown value. It would be like testing whether every time you divide a number by two you actually get half of the number.

The point of using your computer to calculate pi isn't really to find a more accurate decimal representation for pi (alhough I'm sure some people are actually inherently interested in this, for posterity). It's not very useful to anyone, as far as I know. The point is to show off the processing power of your computer, by demonstrating that it can perform a known long, tedious calculation to degree X in time Y.

New Unit of Measurement (4, Funny)

Cranston Snord (314056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133856)

David informed her that the brothers would need to obtain the complete set of raw data from the Leica camera. The next day, he went to the museum and collected, from Bridgers, two large blue Metropolitan Museum shopping bags stuffed with more than two hundred CDs, containing every number that the Leica had collected from the Unicorn tapestries. There were at least a hundred billion numbers in the shopping bags.

Bags...and...bags...of numbers!

Re:New Unit of Measurement (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134232)

So.. how many blue Metropolitan Museum shopping bags does it take to equal one Library of Congress?

Uh, DVDs anyone? (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134487)

If they'd used 4.7GB plain ol' single-layer DVDs, it would have been 200/6.714... = just under 30 full DVDs. Which would have fit on a single spool. My "Babylon 5" collection takes up more space. And they chose to, what, put two hundred CDs in jewel cases to take them across the street? What a buncha maroons.

--grendel drago

Gotta wonder about "The New Yorker" readers ... (4, Funny)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133880)

... when the paper has to illustrate what a circle looks like when explaining 'pi'.

"Here is a circle, with its diameter:"

Obligatory... (2, Funny)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134509)

Frink: [drawing on a blackboard] Here is an ordinary square....
Wiggum: Whoa, whoa - slow down, egghead!
Frink: ... but suppose we extend the square beyond the two dimensions of our universe, along the hypothetical z-axis, there.
Everyone: [gasps]
Frink: This forms a three-dimensional object known as a "cube," or a "Frinkahedron" in honor of its discoverer, n'hey, n'hey.

several months?? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133882)

These guys are pretty inefficient or they wrote a bunch of software from scratch.

This is basically a classic close range photogrammetry problem. In fact even easier than that, a tapestry is essentially a "flat" scene (think throwing a bunch of kitchen utensils in a pile on the floor and constructing a scene out of it which is more typical of this type of problem. Or photographing the inside of a chemical plant and reconstructing accurate blueprints).

At work we can process 50GB worth of aerial mosaics per person per day using a specialization of a custom close range photogrammetry solution.

These guys have a bundle adjustment which could be used to adequately solve the necessary equations for and instructions for recontructing the tapestry: http://www.ics.forth.gr/~lourakis/sba [forth.gr]

Re:several months?? (5, Insightful)

leoval (827218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134048)


I disagree with your analogy. Aerial mosaics have nothing to do with the work that the brothers had to accomplish.

For instance, in aerial photagraphy the landscape being photagraphed changes very little if it changes at all (most of the changes are not even perceptible at the resolution of the cameras). Therefore reconstructing the full image is pretty much trivial (finding the overlapping sections is straightforward).

In this case, and from TA, the images changed from frame to frame! because of several factors, temperature, humidity, light conditions etc. Also the paper cover that the photographers used also disturbed the fine threading in the images. So determining the overlapping sections between tiles could not be easyly automated, in fact from the article it seems that they were not even discernible with the naked eye.

I thing that the time spent in that project was actually productive, and that in the process a bunch of original algorithms were created (I hope they are published in some place).

Re:several months?? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134091)

RTFA.

Since the tapestry was "released" from its frame for the first time in 500 years, it started to slowly contract (sort of like a rubber band that has been released). Additionally, the photographers was in contact with the fabric when taking the pictures, which meant that they moved it ever so slightly.
What took these brothers several months to do was to undo these transformations of the individual fabrics through modelling them with a vector field. The actual stitching together took 24 hours.

testing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12133906)

sorry folks, only a test. please ignore.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

ral315 (741081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133924)

Pi calculates you!

Pi (2, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133934)

The unefulness of calculating pi to this number of digits is nill. After about thirty digits, you have the orbit of the earth calculated, with an accuracy equal to the size of an atom. Computing the circumference of a circle with diameter equal to size of known universe takes about fifty digits.

The only interesting part of all this is the way that the algorithms (invented by Al Gore, hence the name) to calculate have become lossless in binary.

Part of the issue I had when I was in grade school and crate my own pi generator using the 4 * (1 - 1/3 + 1/5 - 1/7....) algorithm, was the rounding error that creeped in. My TRS-80 model one would get the 3.141 part correctly, but depending on the implementation method, would round the rest in strange ways.

Now, you can get an absolutely correct n binary digits of pi, and pick up where you left off. I've read over these algorithm proofs, and only get a headache :)

Re:Pi (3, Informative)

leoval (827218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134246)

I agree with you, I don't think that practical uses for the billionth digit of pi will be found in the near term. However exploring Pi is a good exercise for numbers theorists because it allows them to peer inside the irrational numbers and their properties. There is still a lot if uncharted territory in that area. One of the most sought after peculiaritis of an irrational number (Pi in particular) is to check if any kind of patterns can be discerned in the long list of decimal digits.

Carl Sagan, dreamed long ago (through one of his characters) to find a "circle" pattern inside Pi (i.e another series of Pi inside).

Who knows, perhaps something interesting will be found.

Re:Pi (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134299)

Was this Carl Sagan, or Isaac Asimov?

Re:Pi (2, Informative)

Hooptie (10094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134409)

It is Sagan and it happens at the end of Contact (the book not the movie)

Hooptie

Re:Pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134350)

I disagree that calculating pi to billions of digits is useless. It is a very important stress test for new computers, as it depends on trillions of instructions to perform exactly as they were designed to do, and provides way to see if there is a flaw.

Re:Pi (2, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134359)

The only interesting part of all this is the way that the algorithms (invented by Al Gore, hence the name)

Not sure if this is meant to be a joke or not but...

Algorithm, as it is used in mathematics means a systematic procedure to solve a problem. The word is derived from the name of the Persian mathematician, al-Khowarazmi (See algebra). The first use of the word I am aware of was by G W Liebniz in the late 1600.

Source: http://www.pballew.net/arithme1.html [pballew.net]
Other Source: http://www.disc-conference.org/disc2000/mirror/kho rezmi/ [disc-conference.org]

Re:Pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134430)

Yes, it was a joke.

You should get out more.

Re:Pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134542)

Why, to go see who Al Gore really is?
I think I prefer to abstain from that personally.

[A-Z][a-z]*sk[iy] brothers (1, Offtopic)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 9 years ago | (#12133939)

Wachowski brothers - The Matrix and other films

Chudnovsky brothers - Supercomputers

I have no brother. Now I know why I'm an utter failure. Oh well, back to Slashdot.

Re:[A-Z][a-z]*sk[iy] brothers (2, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134125)

Don't forget the Strugatsky brothers! [fantasticfiction.co.uk]

Why do you need to know Pi so accurately? (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134028)


Somebody enlighten me. Is there any use in knowing Pi to 2 billion decimal places (or even just a few hundred!) Do we hope to find a hidden message, or make the world's most accurate circle, or is it just because we can calculate it? And how do you check for errors?

Re:Why do you need to know Pi so accurately? (1)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134092)

Why do people keep mutating new strains of Linux kernels and full OS distros constantly? Why do Windows flash and bang kids change skins more than most people change their mind or underwear? Why do ricers keep changing the annoying decals taking up half their windshields?

As G'Kar said, because they thought it was a good idea at the time.

More than that, and directly on topic of pi, would be the question, "is there over the long view some periodicity to pi, some regularity, some strange nature to it?". Who knows? Doing the calculations is an excellent exercise in basic mathematics.

Re:Why do you need to know Pi so accurately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134096)

That's exactly what I was wondering. What does anyone get out of this? What a waste of so much time and $70,000, all for a useless result.

Re:Why do you need to know Pi so accurately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134244)

They're trying to find out if pi starts repeating 42424242424242424242 after a few billion decimal places.

Re:Why do you need to know Pi so accurately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134277)

Actually, they already know it doesn't.
You can calculate the nth digit of PI quite easily without calculating the preceding n-1 digits, at least in hexadecimal.

Re:Why do you need to know Pi so accurately? (2, Informative)

woodsrunner (746751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134307)

Some people believe it holds insight into patterns. Thus if you could crack PI, you could crack the stockmarket, the bible, etc.

See the movie:
PI [imdb.com]

There are also several interesting books on the topic including The History of PI, by Peter Beckmann.

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, however, has nothing to do with the number.

Twin Peaks (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134516)

Considering that this work was done in '92 I suspect that they were inspired by the character in Twin Peaks that spent all his time looking for patterns in Pi. There are people that really do this, even today.

Film (4, Interesting)

kinzillah (662884) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134037)

rather than stich a bunch of digital photos, they should have simply photographed it with a very large format camera, and had the resulting negative drum scanned at 8000dpi. These folks [gigapxl.org] do it that way, and if you take a look, the resolution is amazing.

they "fixed" it, but did they get the threads? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134040)

I understand the reason for fixing it to have a record of what dot went where for restoration into the future, but I wonder if they isolated out each thread's color so that people can experiment by replacing the "red" threads with a given new "red" and stuff like that without having to mess with the original. You more or less have to use the real thing if their image doesn't allow this, which would be a total waste in terms of usefulness to art historians.

The middle ages weren't that simple (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134080)

Everybody seems to think the middle ages were some kind of throw-back. Because Roman civilization was gone, people think that Europe had sunk back nearly to the stone age. In particular, they think that because the art is not photo-realistic that it must be primitive.

This tapestry embodies a culture that we no longer understand. In fact, the makers of the tapestry may not have completely understood the references they were making. (Just as we don't. Think of all the figures of speech that you use and can't completely explain.) Understanding the meaning of the tapestry will take a much bigger supercomputer. (Eventually the answer will be 42.)

The Mets site? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134174)

I don't get it. What do the Mets have to do with tapestries? Shouldn't they be more interested in keeping Pedro Martinez and Mike Piazza healthy?

tapestries.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134236)

Don't take that tone with me, my good man. Now buttle off and tell Baron Brunwald that Lord Clarence MacDonald and his lovely assistant are here to view the tapestries.

Billion Places Of Pi (3, Interesting)

Pants75 (708191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134276)

Quick question...

How do we *know* that pi is exactly the result of the formulas that these people use to calculate pi?

I only ask because I assume that pi (as defined by the number of times the diameter of a circle can be wrapped around its circumference) might differ at some arbitary point into the calculation?

How do we know that these calulations actually produce a number that matches reality?

Pete

Re:Billion Places Of Pi (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134380)

Re:Billion Places Of Pi (1)

Pants75 (708191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134532)

Doesn't really answer anything though does it?

Its still just a math based solution...I'd much rather see an *actual experiment* to *measure* pi to 2 billion places.

That would impress me.

Missed the real story... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12134293)

Meh.. you guys are missing the forest for the trees.

Who cares whether they calculated Pi to n-billion digits? Who cares if they photographed the tapestries to the precision of an atom??

The important question that needs to be answered is: how did they end up with wives who (a) work; (b) don't force these two nerds to work; and (c) let them buy all the toys they need? Where can I get a wife like this??

The world brain? (1)

3770 (560838) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134388)

You call Google the world brain? I hear they are renaming it skynet.

Duck to avoid Pi in the face (1)

StephenBenoit (97707) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134482)

Consulting my Fisher Price Workstation, I have determined that the 3 Billionth digit of Pi is "5".

(Pause...)

More or less.

Seriously, the actual value is not the issue. Pi is irrational and the challenge is to encode a very large string of digits without using all previous digits to compute the next few digits.

With pi calculated with so many decimals... (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12134523)

Has any numerical analysis been done to its decimals to find any particularly mathematically or esthetically "interesting" sequences? Anyone know any links to websites for that? The "monkeys banging on a typewriter" thing. :-)

I mean, with an enormous amount of decimals calculated, you'd think there was some pretty cool sequences in there?
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