minutia press.
Doug Oard

Based on my post below, you may well wonder how reasonable people came to the idea of charging students for computing resources. Rice's tuition is below Wash U's, but it was ample to cover the cost of what we used for computing, even back then. Here's the answer to that question, but if any of you have been or are now at or are thinking of going to Rice, stop by and ask Keith Cooper about this, because he probably remembers more of this than I do.

So Doug Oard decided to compute PI using the dart thrownig method I've given in CS101. If you throw darts randomly and uniformly at a circle inscribed in a square, the ratio of darts in the circle to those thrown approaches pi/4, but very slowly. Doug burned some huge amount of funny computer money computing pi all weekend to a whopping 3.14, and after that, the computer center started charging real money.

It turns out Doug is a professor, and his web page is here .


Someone from my high school went to Rice, and I recall him telling me that Rice is considered the best college value for its cost, since it is much less than most other highly ranked schools.

Posted by: Ed at October 30, 2003 9:42 AM

Maybe so, if there were no such thing as scholarships. But when you take into account the fact that Rice can be rather stingy with them ("we're cheap already, why should we give you a fat scholarship?"), it's not always the best bargain. I applied to both Rice and WashU, and ended up getting a much better deal here at WashU.

Posted by: light at October 30, 2003 2:36 PM

In graduate school there was a dart board hanging on the door of my office. My office mates and I would play at least one game a week. We weren't that good, and I think that a visitor to my old office could approximate pi from the outline of the dart board and the multitude of holes surrounding it.

Posted by: Chris2 at November 4, 2003 6:03 PM