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Pi Day 2022 — three one four: a number of notes — A musical journey into the digits of Pi

2021 $\pi$ reminds us that good things grow for those who wait.' edition.
2019 $\pi$ has hundreds of digits, hundreds of languages and a special kids' edition.
2018 $\pi$ day stitches street maps into new destinations.
2017 $\pi$ day imagines the sky in a new way.

2016 $\pi$ approximation day wonders what would happen if about right was right.
2016 $\pi$ day sees digits really fall for each other.
2015 $\pi$ day maps transcendentally.
2014 $\pi$ approx day spirals into roughness.

2014 $\pi$ day hypnotizes you into looking.
2014 $\pi$ day
2013 $\pi$ day is where it started
Circular $\pi$ art and other distractions

On March 14th celebrate $\pi$ Day. Hug $\pi$—find a way to do it.

For those who favour $\tau=2\pi$ will have to postpone celebrations until July 26th. That's what you get for thinking that $\pi$ is wrong. I sympathize with this position and have $\tau$ day art too!

If you're not into details, you may opt to party on July 22nd, which is $\pi$ approximation day ($\pi$ ≈ 22/7). It's 20% more accurate that the official $\pi$ day!

Finally, if you believe that $\pi = 3$, you should read why $\pi$ is not equal to 3.

Most of the art is available for purchase as framed prints and, yes, even pillows. Sleep's never been more important — I take custom requests.

3 There you go
1 Straight
4 Number me not
1 Scales
5 There is more of me
9 To forget than you can remember
—Emma Beauxis-Aussalet (314... piku)

Welcome to 2022 Pi Day: a celebration of $\pi$ and mathematics (and music).

This year I've done something very different — a surprise for both the ear and eye. Working with Gregory Coles, we've composed an album based on the mathematics of $\pi$.

The album is called “three one four: a number of digits” . It is a sixteen minute musical exploration of the digits of $\pi$. Experience this famous number from its beginning (Track 1 314…) to its very (known) end (Track 6 ...264), as well as the math (Track 3 Wallis Product) and jokes (Track 2 Feynman Point) behind it and aspects of its digits, such as repetition (Track 4 nn) and zeroes (Track 5 null).

The album is scored for solo piano in the style of 20th century classical music – each piece has a distinct personality, drawn from styles of Boulez and Stockhausen (314…), Ligeti (Feynman Point), Reich and Glass (Wallis Product), Satie (nn), Feldman (null), Powell and Monk (...264).

Each piece is accompanied by a piku (or πku), a poem whose syllable count is determined by a specific sequence of digits from π. I came up with the concept of a piku for 2020 Pi Day.

9 We know we can never have it all
2 Never
4 But yet can we
2 Ever
6 In endless scarcity
4 Have just enough?
—Emma Beauxis-Aussalet (...264 piku)

The piku collection were written by Emma Beauxis-Aussalet set of piku and each piku follows a syllable count that closely matches the theme of its track.

Our album was the theme of a Numberphile Podcast “The First and Last Digits of Pi” and appeared in Nature Briefing for March 14, 2022.

The 2020 π Day art celebrates the digits of π with piku (パイク) — poetry inspired by haiku. They serve as the form for The Outbreak Poems. On our 2022 Pi Day album "three one four: a number of notes", a piku accompanies each track.

I sit down with the composer of the album, Gregory Coles, and start the conversation about turning mathematics into music. Our attempt was to find a compelling balance between $\pi$ and the heart of a musician.

We go through the list of tracks on the album and give you a sense of what to expect.

The 2021 π Day art celebrates the digits of π with a forest! Visit the bat cave and underwater ecosystems for the full experience.

what to listen to first?

The 2018 π Day art celebrates the 30th anniversary of π day and connects friends stitching road maps from around the world. Pack a sandwich and let's go!

geek out on music theory and scores

If you're a music geek, you'll love our detailed discussion of the music theory behind each track and a thorough score analysis.

If you like space, you will love this. The 2017 π Day art imagines the digits of π as a star catalogue with constellations of extinct animals and plants. The work is featured in the article Pi in the Sky at the Scientific American SA Visual blog.

The entire album is arranged for solo piano and lovingly engraved. You can download the full score.

three one four: a number of notes | piano score v09 | page 9
three one four: a number of notes | piano score v09 | page 17
three one four: a number of notes | piano score v09 | page 27
three one four: a number of notes | piano score v09 | page 33
three one four: a number of notes | piano score v09 | page 39
three one four: a number of notes | piano score v09 | page 45

news + thoughts

Neural network primer

Mon 06-02-2023

Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. —Francis Bacon

In the first of a series of columns about neural networks, we introduce them with an intuitive approach that draws from our discussion about logistic regression.

Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Neural network primer. (read)

Simple neural networks are just a chain of linear regressions. And, although neural network models can get very complicated, their essence can be understood in terms of relatively basic principles.

We show how neural network components (neurons) can be arranged in the network and discuss the ideas of hidden layers. Using a simple data set we show how even a 3-neuron neural network can already model relatively complicated data patterns.

Derry, A., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2023) Points of significance: Neural network primer. Nature Methods 20.

Lever, J., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2016) Points of significance: Logistic regression. Nature Methods 13:541–542.

Cell Genomics cover

Mon 16-01-2023

Our cover on the 11 January 2023 Cell Genomics issue depicts the process of determining the parent-of-origin using differential methylation of alleles at imprinted regions (iDMRs) is imagined as a circuit.

Designed in collaboration with with Carlos Urzua.

Our Cell Genomics cover depicts parent-of-origin assignment as a circuit (volume 3, issue 1, 11 January 2023). (more)

Akbari, V. et al. Parent-of-origin detection and chromosome-scale haplotyping using long-read DNA methylation sequencing and Strand-seq (2023) Cell Genomics 3(1).

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

Thu 05-01-2023

My cover design on the 6 January 2023 Science Advances issue depicts DNA sequencing read translation in high-dimensional space. The image showss 672 bases of sequencing barcodes generated by three different single-cell RNA sequencing platforms were encoded as oriented triangles on the faces of three 7-dimensional cubes.

My Science Advances cover that encodes sequence onto hypercubes (volume 9, issue 1, 6 January 2023). (more)

Kijima, Y. et al. A universal sequencing read interpreter (2023) Science Advances 9.

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring

Mon 21-11-2022

If you sit on the sofa for your entire life, you’re running a higher risk of getting heart disease and cancer. —Alex Honnold, American rock climber

In a follow-up to our Survival analysis — time-to-event data and censoring article, we look at how regression can be used to account for additional risk factors in survival analysis.

We explore accelerated failure time regression (AFTR) and the Cox Proportional Hazards model (Cox PH).

Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring. (read)

Dey, T., Lipsitz, S.R., Cooper, Z., Trinh, Q., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2022) Points of significance: Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring. Nature Methods 19.

Music video for Max Cooper's Ascent

Tue 25-10-2022

My 5-dimensional animation sets the visual stage for Max Cooper's Ascent from the album Unspoken Words. I have previously collaborated with Max on telling a story about infinity for his Yearning for the Infinite album.

I provide a walkthrough the video, describe the animation system I created to generate the frames, and show you all the keyframes

Frame 4897 from the music video of Max Cooper's Asent.

The video recently premiered on YouTube.

Renders of the full scene are available as NFTs.

Gene Cultures exhibit — art at the MIT Museum

Tue 25-10-2022

I am more than my genome and my genome is more than me.

The MIT Museum reopened at its new location on 2nd October 2022. The new Gene Cultures exhibit featured my visualization of the human genome, which walks through the size and organization of the genome and some of the important structures.

My art at the MIT Museum Gene Cultures exhibit tells shows the scale and structure of the human genome. Pay no attention to the pink chicken.