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Searching for the truth

Earlier today, I tweeted about my exciting new Pi search website, which lets you search for any string of digits within the infinite decimal expansion of π. If you haven’t seen it, go and check it out now.

MathsCity hosts freehand circle-drawing competition for π day

To celebrate 14th March (π day), MathsCity in Leeds is hosting a competition to celebrate everyone’s favourite geometrical shape whose circumference is π times its diameter: the circle.

Aperiodical News Roundup – November 2021

Here’s a roundup of some of the news stories from the world of maths in the month of November.


Photo of headshots of women mathematicians featured in the film as well as a blackboard

Eugenie Hunsicker and collaborators have produced a film entitled “Words of Women in Mathematics in the Time of Corona”, which raises awareness of the impact of the pandemic on women in mathematics.

The QE Prize for Engineering’s ‘Month of Making’, as featured previously in a post announcing the start, is well under way and continues until 12th December, with scientific, mathematical and engineeringy ideas for make-it-yourself gifts every day.

This month saw the official launch of MathsCity Leeds, as previously covered in this review by hands-on discovery centre correspondent Peter and his son.

Photo of MathsWorldUK Committee and Support Team in the discovery centre, with Katie and Paul watching an interactive demonstration of pendulums in the background top right
MathsWorldUK Committee and Support Team, with the Aperiodical’s Katie and Paul hiding in the background top right (Photo: North East Post)

Leading mathematicians, council members, and key professionals from tourist attractions and universities across the country were just some of the guests that attended the bustling launch party last night for the UK’s first maths discovery centre. […] Celebrating the milestone achievement by the pioneering charity MathsWorldUK, the MathsCity launch was an opportunity to show donors, supporters, and future investors why the innovative new attraction that opened its doors in Leeds City Centre last month is so important for the future.

North East Post
Text from screenshot: This proposal has reached 100% commitment. We are preparing for its launch and expect to create it soon.

Attempts to start a proof assistants stack exchange have been successful, and the Stack Exchange team are “are preparing for its launch and expect to create it soon”. (via Andrej Bauer)

A new paper has been published in Nature about the use of machine learning in pure maths research. This isn’t machine learning making new maths, but rather it’s pitched as a collaboration between mathematician and machine – the authors argue that machine learning can be used “to guide intuition and propose conjectures”. The paper gives some examples of new fundamental results in pure mathematics that have been discovered with the assistance of machine learning.

Open Calls

How maths helps people - Poster Ccompetition. Photos of the earth from space, a syringe, a brush fire, a crowd and a whale. IMA and Maths Careers logo.

The IMA has launched a poster competition called How Maths Helps People, in which high school students are asked to design an A4 “persuasive poster which shows how maths can be used to help people”. The poster should be aimed at high school students, and students with winning posters in each age group will receive an Android tablet. The closing date is 31st January 2022.

A photograph of a group of young researchers, standing in a modern building, grouped around a seated old bearded internet evangelist
Vint Cerf at HLF 2014 (Photo: HLFF)

The LMS has announced its annual call for nominations for its 2022 prizes, which are awarded in various categories for mathematical research, innovation and exposition.

Recreational Maths Magazine has issued a call for proposals for its upcoming π-themed issue, which will be their first specially themed issue. Calls close on 14th March 2022 (obviously).

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which takes place in September in Heidelberg, Germany, and brings together top-level maths laureates with young researchers for a week of lectures, workshops and networking has announced that applications for young researchers to attend HLF 2022 are now open. If you know any PhD or postdoc mathematicians who would like a chance to meet some cool people and have a great trip to Germany, encourage them to apply!

π-ku Poetry Competition – Results

Photo of a medal with 'WINNER' written on it
Image by AxxLC from Pixabay

A few weeks ago, we asked you to write some mathematical poetry – π-ku, which are a bit like Haiku but instead of the structure 5-7-5, they use the more classical 3-1-4 format (and it doesn’t just have to be syllables – valid π-ku can also use 3, 1 and 4 words on each line, if you prefer).

You responded in large quantities – across Twitter and email, we received over 100 entries, from fun ditties to serious, beautiful poems. Since none of us here at the Aperiodical are particularly well-versed (pun intended) in poetry, we consulted maths/poetry aficionado and special guest judge JoAnne Growney, who runs a blog collating mathematical poems over at Poetry With Mathematics.

Poetry competition: π-ku

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Since some people might be looking for small momentary diversions around now to take their mind off things, we’re running a little poetry competition!

π calculated to 31 trillion digits

This Pi Day, Emma Haruka Iwao has announced calculation of \(\pi\) to \( \pi \times 10^{13} = 31,\!415,\!926,\!535,\!897 \) digits, exceeding the previous record of 22 trillion digits set in November 2016.

This used y-cruncher, running Chudnovky’s algorithm. Chudnovky’s algorithm is \( \mathcal{O}(n(\log n)^3)\), making each record more impressive. In a blog post, Emma writes about the benefits of using a cloud cluster, saying the calculation ran on a virtual machine cluster, using

25 nodes for 111.8 days, or 2,795 machine-days (7.6 machine-years), during which time Google Cloud performed thousands of live migrations uninterrupted and with no impact on the calculation process.

Ways to access the digits and fun related bits and bobs are outlined in the blog post.

More information

Pi in the sky: Calculating a record-breaking 31.4 trillion digits of Archimedes’ constant on Google Cloud by Emma Haruka Iwao.

Emma Haruka Iwao smashes pi world record with Google help, BBC News.