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Feb 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/2/96

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I'm sorry, none of those mnemonics has anything on this:

Circle Digits:

A Self-Referential Story, by Michael Keith.

For a time I

stood pondering on circle

sizes. The large computer

mainframe quietly processed all of its

assembly code. Inside my entire hope lay for

figuring out an elusive expansion. Value: pi.

Decimals expected soon. I nervously entered a format

procedure. The mainframe processed the request. Error.

I, again entering it, carefully retyped. This iteration gave

zero error printouts in all - success. Intently I waited.

Soon, roused by thoughts within me, appeared narrative mnemonics

relating digits to verbiage! The idea appeared to exist but only

in abbreviated fashion - little phrases typically. Pressing on I

then resolved, deciding firmly about a sum of decimals to use - likely

around four hundred, presuming the computer code soon halted!

Pondering these ideas, words appealed to me. But a problem of zeros did

exist. Pondering more, solution subsequently appeared. Zero suggests a

punctuation element. Very novel! My thoughts were culminated. No,

periods, I concluded. All residual marks of punctuation - zeros. First

digit expansion answer then came before me. On examining some problems

unhappily arose. That imbecilic bug! The printout I possessed showed four

nine as foremost decimals. Manifestly troubling. Totally every number

looked wrong. Repairing the bug took much effort. A pi mnemonic with

letters truly seemed good. Counting of all the letters probably should

suffice. Reaching for a record would be helpful. Consequently, I

continued, expecting a good final answer from computer. First number

slowly displayed on the flat screen - 3. Good. Trailing digits

apparently were right also. Now my memory scheme must probably be

implementable. The technique was chosen, elegant in scheme: by self

reference a tale mnemonically helpful was ansured. An able title

suddenly existed - "Circle Digits". Taking pen I began. Words

emanated uneasily. I desired more synonyms. Speedily I found my

(alongside me) Thesaurus. Rogets is probably an essential in

doing this, instantly I decided. I wrote and erased more.

The Rogets clearly assisted immensely. My story

proceeded (how lovely!) faultlessly. The end, above

all, would soon joyfully overtake. So, this memory

helper story is incontestably complete. Soon I

will locate publisher. There a narrative

will I trust immediately appear,

producing fame. THE END.

The preceding self-referential story is a mnemonic for the first 402

decimals of the number PI. As it indicates, merely count the number of

letters in each word of the story (beginning with the first word, "For",

up to and including the final words, "The End") to obtain the successive

decimals to PI. Any punctuation mark other than a period represents a zero

digit (a period stands for no digit). Words of longer than 9 letters

represent two adjacent digits (for example, a twelve-letter word

represents the two digits 1-2). A digit written literally stands for the

same digit in the expansion. This feature would be considered "cheating".

As far as I can determine, this story estabilishes a new record length

for a literary PI mnemonic, although clearly the length of such a mnemonic

is limited only by the patience of the constructor. It has been checked

by a computer program for correctness to the decimals of PI.

(from The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.8 No.3, Pg.56/57)

For those who want to compose even longer mnemonics using the same or

similar rules, the following points may be of interest:

1. At decimal 601, the first triple-zero occours. Clearly we can handle

this with the present scheme, but a little ingenuity is required. No

quadruple-zeros occur within at least the first 10,000 decimals, so

we don't have to concern ourselves with that possibility.

2. At decimal 772 we encounter the amazing sequence 9999998. This seven-

digit group has the largest digit sum of any seven-digit group in

the first million decimals! Because of the resulting requirement for

seven adjacent long words, it also poses quite a challenge in encoding.

We have seen pi-mnemonic sentences, poems, and now, a short story.

Perhaps some day a complete novel?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terry Stewart

OaSys

2A Systems Design Engineering

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