Pi (part 3)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

When I Googled for “Pi compression” earlier this week I found this site. A guy named Steve had already thought of the very same method to use Pi for data compression as I described a few days ago. And not only Steve, but also some others, as you can read in the comments.
Arjen sent me a link to a site where you search online to any 120 digit sequences within Pi. The results are given within less than a second. The site use a version of Pi that is 200 million digits long. That proves that at least a part of the idea works.
I have tried not to waste too much time on this puzzle, but I find it hard to resist. I don’t think it is interesting to write all the thoughts that I had in this blog, but if anybody is interested, I will send you a PDF of my diary when I am finished puzzling.
Does anybody happen to know how long the sequences are that Bit Torrent software uses? I think that 120 digits is way too small too make the idea of data compression with Pi work, but I have no idea what the exact limit is. I would love to talk about this with somebody who knows enough about programming and mathematics to answer all my questions. The main questions is: can a program be written that is “shorter” than the sequence/file that it searches for? I know that this is seen by some people as a digital perpetual motion machine and therefore impossible, but I don’t believe this is the case.
One of the things that came to my mind is the idea to store data in a 3D version of Pi. Imagine that you write Pi down on cards in 100 by 100 digit rows and place all these cards behind each other. It can also be 101×101 or 275×573 digits or any other variation. In this 3D way you can locate and re-locate sequences in almost infinite more ways that you can in a linear version of Pi, as this clumsy illustration shows:

When I tried to explain this idea to people ten years ago, I noticed that many people didn’t realise that the “only” problem is to RE-locate the file/number. It doesn’t matter if takes a computer program a year to locate a file/number: once it IS found, it is there for everybody to re-find. The question is: can a program be written that is shorter (meaning: made up of less bits) than the file/number that it finds. Again, this idea makes some people very angry, because they think it is ridiculous and impossible. But in a Universe as ridiculous and impossible as ours, I think this idea is worth giving a chance.

For today´s soundtrack I choose a track from this LP:

It is a private release gospel blues record made in London. The sound is raw and I find the music of R. Edwards & the Strings of Prophecy exceptionally good. Because the songs are sounding quite different, I choose these two:
Hard road to travel

…and God’s pilgrim, with a steel drum for surprise: