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Decimal Digits of PI

This example shows how to use variable-precision arithmetic to investigate the decimal digits of pi using Symbolic Math Toolbox™.

Joke: What do you get when you take the sun and divide its circumference by its diameter?

Answer: in the sky!

It is an old game to search for one's birthday or telephone number in the decimal digits of . The precision of the built-in datatypes suffices to obtain a few digits only:

num2str(pi, 100000)
ans = 

The function vpa uses variable-precision to convert symbolic expressions into symbolic floating-point numbers. Convert pi to a floating-point number using vpa. Increase the precision of vpa using digits.

a = vpa(pi)
a = 

To convert a variable-precision number into a string, use the function char.

c = char(a);

Search for your phone number in the digits of pi.

strfind(c, '1185480')
ans = 447

It is common belief that all digits occur asymptotically equally often in the decimal expansion of , but no proof exists yet. Find the decimal point:

pos = strfind(c, '.')
pos = 2

Convert the decimal digits to numbers, and plot a histogram of their frequency:

d = arrayfun(@str2num, c(pos+1:end));
histogram(d, 10);
title('Frequency of the decimal digits of \pi');