Pi Calculator 1.2
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What is Pi Calculator?
Pi
Calculator tries to compute the value of pi by using a random number
generator. Given plenty of other methods for calculating pi, this
may seem like a very silly way to do it. However, this program does
illustrate a very powerful method that is used often in the sciences
when trying to manipulate a problem that is either impossible or
very difficult to solve analytically. In this casem a computer's
numerical prowess can be a terrific advantage. In this case, the
power of random numbers is employed. This method is called the "Monte
Carlo method."
Who needs it?
Well, no one really needs
it. Many folks will still find it interesting, though. Pi Calculator
may be most useful in an educational setting. Science and math teachers
at the 11th and 12th grade levels, as well as freshmen and sophomore
college level instructors should find the topic to be at about the
right difficulty level without being too abstract for their students.
It may also make a good introduction to numerical computing and
the power of computers in science.
How does it work?
If you ask nicely, we'll send you
the source code. You shouldn't need it, though, since the algorithm
is so amazingly simple. Pick N random coordinates
x & y in [0,1]. Keep track of the
number of points M that corresponds to each (x,y)
such that the square root of (x*x +
y*y) <=1. Then Pi = 4*(M/N).
Simple, see? ;)
What's
new?
This version of the software implements
the calculation in a seperate REALbasic "thread" so that
it doesn't lock up your computer while calculating. This makes the
software a little slower, but the ability to use the computer to
work on other tasks while it is calculating should offset the slowdown.
Also, this version's interface is cleaner and easier to use. Finally,
we have compiled versions specifically for 68k, PowerPC, and Carbon.
Screenshots
This
is the main window in Pi Calculator. It's options should be
pretty selfexplanatory. 

This
is the extended window in Pi Calculator. It shows the history
function. You can enable this display by clicking the black
disclosure triangle. 

Download
Pi
Calculator is between 500KB and 1MB depending on the particular
download. Pick the version you want from below.
68k (Requires at
least a 68020 and Mac OS 7.6)
PowerPC (Works on
any PowerPC Mac running Mac OS 7.6 through Mac OS 9.2.2)
Carbon (Works on Mac
OS 8.6 through Mac OS X 10.2.x)
