Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert Curve
This love's a nameless dream.Cocteau Twinstry to figure it out

4ness: exciting


More than Pretty Pictures—Aesthetics of Data Representation, Denmark, April 13–16, 2015


visualization + design

Typography geek? If you like the geometry and mathematics of these posters, you may enjoy something more lettered. Visions of type: Type Peep Show: The Private Curves of Letters posters.

download

numbers.tgz
1,000,000 digits of π , φ , e and ASN.

find your own path

The source code is freely available. Read how you can compute your own π path!

watch video

Watch the video at Numberphile about my art.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Numberphile video — Pi is Beautiful. (watch)

2013 Pi Day art

Explore Pi Day art for 2013.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Pi Day art for 2013. (explore)

buy artwork

All the artwork can be purchased from Fine Art America.

Buy 2014 Pi Day Path posters

Buy 2014 Pi Day Circle posters

Buy 2013 Pi Day posters

Buy Love in Pi posters

The art of Pi (π), Phi (φ) and e

the art

Numbers are a lot of fun. They can start conversations—the interesting number paradox is a party favourite. Of course, in the wrong company they can just as easily end conversations.

The art here represents my attempt at transforming famous numbers in mathematics into pretty visual forms. This work is 99% art and 1% data visualization. Because the digits in the numbers are essentially random (as far as we know), the essence of the art is based on randomness.

In a few cases, the art reveals an interesting and unexpected observation. For example, the sequence 999999 in π at digit 762 appears significantly earlier than expected by chance. Or that if you calculate π to 13,099,586 digits you will find love, as encoded by 1114214 in the scheme a=0, b=1, c=2...

Keep in mind that because the digits are random and never terminating, they have the property that they contain all observations about numbers within them. In fact, because the digits go on forever, you'll eventually find π within π.

the numbers

Of these three transcendental numbers, π is the most well known. It is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter (d = πr).

The Golden Ratio (φ) is the attractive proportion of values a and b (a > b) that satisfy (a+b)/a = a/b, which solves to a/b = (1+√5)/2.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The numbers π, φ and e nearly form a right-angled triangle.

The last of the three numbers, e is Euler's number and also known as the base of the natural logarithm. It, too, can be defined geometrically—it is the unique real number, e, for which the function f(x)=ex has a tangent of slope 1 at x=0. Like π, e appears throughout mathematics. For example, e is central in the expression for the normal distribution as well as the definition of entropy. And if you've ever heard of someone talking about log plots ... well, there's e again!

π 
φ
e 
= 3.141592653589793238462643...
= 1.618033988749894848204586...
= 2.718281828459045235360287...

did you see something special?

These three numbers have the curious property that they are almost Pythagorean. In other words, if they are made into sides of a triangle, the triangle is nearly a right-angled triangle (89.1°).

Did you notice how in the 12th decimal point all three numbers have the same digit—9? This accidental similarity generates its own number—the Accidental Similarity Number (ASN).

methods

perl, SVG, Illustrator

Happy Pi Day!

Hug π on March 14th and celebrate Pi Day. Those who favour τ will have to postpone celebrations until July 26th (τ = 2 π). If you're not into details, you may opt to party on July 22nd, which is π approximation day (π ≈ 22/7).

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
2013 Pi Day posters. Celebrate with this post-modern poster. (BUY ARTWORK)
Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
2014 Pi Day posters. Celebrate with this modern poster. Pi is folded on a self-avoiding path to maximize the number of neighbouring prime digits. (BUY ARTWORK)

The 2013 posters were inspired by the beautiful AIDS posters by Elena Miska.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
The 4ness of π. Shown here are the first 2,000 4’s in pi. Each digit is formatted based on its 4-ness, which is a measure of how similar its neighbours are to 4. (...more, BUY ARTWORK)

4ness of Pi (π)

A concept created for this visualization, the iness of a number measures how close each of its digits is to a given number, i.

The iness is calculated for each digit from the average of the relative difference between i and the digit's neighbours.

The 4ness of Pi (π) is a specific case of an iness, for i=4.

Thanks to Lance Bailey for suggesting how to measure iness.

example

In the sequence of Pi (π) 3.1415 the neighbours of the 4 are 3, 1, 1 and 5. The relative distances to 4 are -1, -3, -1 and 1. The average, which is the 4ness, of this digit (which is also a 4, coincidentally) is -1.5. The 4ness of each of the other digits is computed identically.

In the iness posters, the 4ness is mapped onto a color and the standard deviation of the differences onto a size.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
The accidental similarity number for π, φ and e created from the first 1,000,000 digits of each number. (...more, BUY ARTWORK)

accidental similarity number

The accidental similarity number is a kind of overlap between numbers. I came up with this concept after creating typographical art about the 4ness of Pi (π).

example

To construct this number for Pi (π), Phi (φ) and e we first write the numbers on top of each other and then identify positions for which the numbers have the same digit.

3.141 … 3589793 … 7067982 … 7019385 … 
1.618 … 8749894 … 1137484 … 5959395 … 
2.718 … 8459045 … 6427427 … 6279434 … 

These digits are then used to create the accidental similarity number. In thise case,

asn(π,φ,e) = 0.979 …

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Circos art depicting π, φ and e. (...more, BUY ARTWORK)

Circos numerical art

Numerology is bogus, but art based on numbers is pretty, in a random non-metaphysical way.

These depictions were generated using my Circos software by Cristian Ilies Vasile and myself.

news + thoughts

Color palettes for color blindness

Sun 01-03-2015

In an audience of 8 men and 8 women, chances are 50% that at least one has some degree of color blindness1. When encoding information or designing content, use colors that is color-blind safe.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A 12-color palette safe for color blindness

Points of Significance Column Now Open Access

Tue 10-02-2015

Nature Methods has announced the launch of a new statistics collection for biologists.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column is now open access. (column archive)

As part of that collection, announced that the entire Points of Significance collection is now open access.

This is great news for educators—the column can now be freely distributed in classrooms.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Before and After—Designing Tiny Figures for Nature Methods

Tue 13-01-2015

I've posted a writeup about the design and redesign process behind the figures in our Nature Methods Points of Significance column.

I have selected several figures from our past columns and show how they evolved from their draft to published versions.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Fig 2 from Points of Significance: Nested designs. (Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Nature Methods 11:977-978.) (...more)

Clarity, concision and space constraints—we have only 3.4" of horizontal space— all have to be balanced for a figure to be effective.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Fig 2c (excerpt) from Points of Significance: Designing comparative experiments. (Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Nature Methods 11:597-598.) (...more)

It's nearly impossible to find case studies of scientific articles (or figures) through the editing and review process. Nobody wants to show their drafts. With this writeup I hope to add to this space and encourage others to reveal their process. Students love this. See whether you agree with my decisions!

Sources of Variation

Thu 08-01-2015

Past columns have described experimental designs that mitigate the effect of variation: random assignment, blocking and replication.

The goal of these designs is to observe a reproducible effect that can be due only to the treatment, avoiding confounding and bias. Simultaneously, to sample enough variability to estimate how much we expect the effect to differ if the measurements are repeated with similar but not identical samples (replicates).

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Sources of Variation. (read)

We need to distinguish between sources of variation that are nuisance factors in our goal to measure mean biological effects from those that are required to assess how much effects vary in the population.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2014) Points of Significance: Two Factor Designs Nature Methods 11:5-6.

Background reading

1. Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Designing Comparative Experiments Nature Methods 11:597-598.

2. Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and blocking Nature Methods 11:699-700.

3. Blainey, P., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Replication Nature Methods 11:879-880.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Two Factor Designs

Tue 09-12-2014

We've previously written about how to analyze the impact of one variable in our ANOVA column. Complex biological systems are rarely so obliging—multiple experimental factors interact and producing effects.

ANOVA is a natural way to analyze multiple factors. It can incorporate the possibility that the factors interact—the effect of one factor depends on the level of another factor. For example, the potency of a drug may depend on the subject's diet.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Two Factor Designs. (read)

We can increase the power of the analysis by allowing for interaction, as well as by blocking.

Krzywinski, M., Altman, (2014) Points of Significance: Two Factor Designs Nature Methods 11:1187-1188.

Background reading

Blainey, P., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Replication Nature Methods 11:879-880.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and blocking Nature Methods 11:699-700.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Designing Comparative Experiments Nature Methods 11:597-598.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Nested Designs—Assessing Sources of Noise

Mon 29-09-2014

Sources of noise in experiments can be mitigated and assessed by nested designs. This kind of experimental design naturally models replication, which was the topic of last month's column.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Nested designs. (read)

Nested designs are appropriate when we want to use the data derived from experimental subjects to make general statements about populations. In this case, the subjects are random factors in the experiment, in contrast to fixed factors, such as we've seen previously.

In ANOVA analysis, random factors provide information about the amount of noise contributed by each factor. This is different from inferences made about fixed factors, which typically deal with a change in mean. Using the F-test, we can determine whether each layer of replication (e.g. animal, tissue, cell) contributes additional variation to the overall measurement.

Krzywinski, M., Altman, N. & Blainey, P. (2014) Points of Significance: Nested designs Nature Methods 11:977-978.

Background reading

Blainey, P., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Replication Nature Methods 11:879-880.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and blocking Nature Methods 11:699-700.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of Significance: Designing Comparative Experiments Nature Methods 11:597-598.

...more about the Points of Significance column