Digesting Pi


If you think that engineers don’t know how to have fun, you are in for a surprise. One of Isthmus’ newest design engineers, Pravin Dhakal, EIT, told us a tale about how Pi saved him from finals burnout.

Pravin Dhakal, EIT, thinks a lot about Pi

“It was during my finals of the last semester of my undergraduate. I was there with my roommate talking about the craziest of things when we stumbled upon the mightiness of Pi. We had grown up watching cartoons and movies where robots would self-destruct when asked the value of Pi. So, we decided to research how a computer would calculate and respond to such an infinite task.

“First we searched the internet to find if any work was done on this and found that there was a website which gave us billions of digits in Pi and it was still generating new digits every second. So, we decided to use logic and develop some code to find the value of Pi.

“Pi is basically the circumference of the circle divided by its diameter. It sounds so simple, right? Well, to calculate the length of an arc (i.e. circumference in our case) you must break it into the tiniest of pieces. We wrote a script that would divide the circumference into millions of parts and determine the length of the circumference using the equation of circle. We let the script run for hours at a time, fascinated by watching more digits of Pi generate. This had so much effect on us that we wrote the first 100 digits of Pi on our wall so that we could memorize it. I think we memorized about 20 digits. This was one crazy chapter of our college life.”

The moral of this story is that study breaks can take many forms and digesting as much Pi as possible might be one of the more labor intensive breaks we’ve encountered.

Happy Pi Day!

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