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Buffon's needle experiment is an example of a Monte Carlo method, whereby a random process is used to find an approximation to a mathematical value, in this case pi.
A needle is dropped on a floor, with floorboards of width equal to the needle's length. The number of times the needle falls on a crack is counted. This total, when compared to the number of times the needle has been dropped, can give an estimate of pi.
Begin by choosing the number of needle drops then click on Simulate.

Software/Applets used on this page

Dartmouth
an applet from
HREF="http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/teaching_aids/books_articles/probability_book/bookapplets/index.html">Dartmouth
College, Hanover, NH

Glossary

pi

the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is approximately 3.14159265...

Full Glossary List

This question appears in the following syllabi:

SyllabusModuleSectionTopicExam Year
AQA A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
CCEA A-Level (NI)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
Edexcel A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
I.B. Higher Level5ProbabilityExperimental-
I.B. (MSSL)3ProbabilityExperimental-
I.B. Standard Level5ProbabilityExperimental-
OCR A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
OCR-MEI A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
Scottish HighersSProbabilityExperimental-
WJEC A-Level (Wales)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
CIE A-Level (UK)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
Methods (UK)M15ProbabilityExperimental-
Pre-U A-Level (UK)ProbProbabilityExperimental-
Scottish (Highers + Advanced)HSProbabilityExperimental-
Pre-Calculus (US)E4ProbabilityExperimental-
Universal (all site questions)PProbabilityExperimental-
CBSE XI (India)Statistics and ProbabilityProbabilityRandom experiments, outcomes, sample spaces (set representation)-
CBSE XII (India)ProbabilityProbabilityRepeated independent (Bernoulli) trials and binomial distribution-
Edexcel AS/A2 Maths 2017StatisticsProbabilityExperimental Probabilities-
Edexcel AS Maths 2017StatisticsProbabilityExperimental Probabilities-
AQA AS Maths 2017StatisticsProbabilityExperimental Probabilities-
OCR AS Maths 2017StatisticsProbabilityExperimental Probabilities-
OCR MEI AS Maths 2017StatisticsProbabilityExperimental Probabilities-
AQA AS/A2 Maths 2017StatisticsProbabilityExperimental Probabilities-