In this scenario, we'll be dropping a bunch of randomly generated needles of length 1 on a grid with vertical lines. The spacing between the vertical lines is also of length 1. It turns out that you can estimate the value of $\pi$ by taking the fraction of the number of needles you dropped (Drops) and those that crossed any of the vertical lines (Hits) and multiplying by twice the length of a needle. See this ipython notebook for code used.

The following two graphs show our grid with 100 and 1000 randomly generated needles respectively

$ 2 \times needlelength \times \frac{Drops}{Hits} \approx \pi $

where length of needle is 1 and the length of the spacing between the vertical grid lines is also 1

The graphs below were generated from a few hundred trials. For each trial, we increased the number of randomly generated needles. We can see the estimated value of $\pi$ is about 3.12 which is a bit off from the true value of 3.14. I suspect there might be something going on with how the random needle center coordinates are generated since the needle graphs above are showing some symmetry. Regardless, we are still within 1% of the true value of $\pi$.

For all the code used for this analysis, visit this ipython notebook

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