Gugus' training and progress journal

Hey. I thought I’d do a training journal here, in order to keep track of my advancement in pi memorization. I hope it can help some of you, and I also hope I can get some feedback from you.

Since a few weeks, I’ve spent 30 minutes per day learning my 3-digit number system using flashcards, and I now know it almost entierly. I made quite a lot of changes in my number system since it’s completed, about 30 or 40, but now it’s almost set in stone. Learning it was really worth it, as now, when reading the numbers for the first time, I can see the 3 images per loci almost instantly 9 times out of 10. It’s a time-saver obviously, but it’s also very pleasant. I’m gonna continue to learn it even deeper, to get the flow going, but only 15 minutes on weekends.

So the time and mental effort I win by knowing my system well, I’m gonna spend on learning more digits. Going from 45 (5 loci) per day to 90. Still 5 days a week for now, to let me the time of longer recalls and rest on weekends. I’m pretty sure I can handle it. If I keep that pace of 450 digits per week, I’ll know about 13k digits by next pi day. But maybe I’m too optimistic, and the need to recall will be overwhelming as the digits I know increase. I’d like to know your experiences about that, can one continue to accelerate the pace, or even keep it, without losing or fading previously-made progress ?

I ate 342 digits today, out of boredom and personal challenge. Personal best. I also recalled all the digits I know, 3555 without a mistake. So now, my second mental palace is filled with images, and I’ll start to fill my third, the imaginary stadium, tommorow. I also started to create my 4th MP, which will be a walk through my hometown, including my former school, my home, a gymnasium, walk-ways, shops, parks, etc. It should be around a thousand loci once it’s all set up… can’t wait to fill it.

I also thought more about a 4-digit number system, and I’m pretty sure I won’t create nor use it in the end. I’m still not 100% convinced, maybe you guys can make me change my mind. But I feel like it’s too big of an investment. I guess it would take me around 1 year to create and learn it (but I don’t really know), so if I don’t learn pi digits while creating it, it will be worth it only 4 years later, even if then, the benefice is indefinite. So it means that it wil be worth it from ~100k digits onwards if I keep that pace of 450 per week, which is about enough to beat the official world record and meet the world’s bests. That is if I keep that uncertain pace of 450, moreover… In one word, it’s a huge bet on the future, and I’m not sure I wanna risk it. Not that performance is the only variable, I also feel like I’ll have more fun learning digits with a 4-digit system, than with a 3-digit system, than creating and learning the 4-digit system… so it’s kinda consistent. Anyways. What do you think about all this ?

Take care


That’s a great project. A 10,000 image system is ambitious. I wonder how much review is needed to avoid forgetting some of them, but if it’s mainly for pi, you might not need all 10,000 images.

I wrote a quick script to see how many of the 10,000 images would appear in the first 100,000 digits of pi, and it looks like it might be possible to start even before you create all the images.

Pi Digits Unique Images
1,000 247
5,000 1,171
10,000 2,197
15,000 3,127
20,000 3,943
25,000 4,690
30,000 5,320
50,000 7,135
100,000 9,159


(Those files don’t contain pi itself, but just list the unique 4-digit images in the order that they first appear.)

It starts to sound easier if approached that way, but I don’t know how a 10,000-image system would be constructed if it doesn’t use categories, so there might be some initial work required to sketch that out.

I don’t know if it’s a good idea to go for 10,000 or not, because it would be difficult — just brainstorming out loud. :slight_smile:

I got the pi digits here.


Actually, I could use categories even if I start memorizing before I finish the number system… In fact, I could even construct only the images I need, when their corresponding number appear in pi. That would require me to create 100 categories, in which I know I can create at least 100 images in each of them, before I start to use it.

For example, if I decide that 37xx is the Simpson character’s category, and I encounter 3782 in the digits of pi, I can decide that 3782 is Bart Simpson. That way I don’t have to care about the others 37xx yet.

Indeed, it requires a time of preparation, and more time to encode and memorize the digits at first. But as your chart shows, it’s gonna go easier and easier, and I won’t need a sh*t ton of time to create and memorize the number system at first. So yeah, it’s gonna be a lot more pleasant, challenging and efficient in the long run.

I don’t know how I didn’t think about that before… That’s the way I went with my 3-digits number system at the very beginning, and although it was a mess back then, I think I can make it work on that 10 000-images system with more preparation, thoughts and experience.

I’ll see if I can come up with 100 viable categories. Thanks a lot for making me think about another way out of this and giving me more motivation to work on this : ) Cheers !

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If you try it, let us know how it goes. :slight_smile:

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We are at a similar point in pi memorisation atm. I started about a week ago and so far i’m at about 3800 digits of pi memorised. Ive set a goal to beat the Australian record (10534 digits) by October 10. I have absolutely no motivation to develop a bigger system though, I think simon reinhardts the only competitor ive ever heard of who is using a 4 digit system, so if 4 digit systems are too complex for the best in the world then they are certainly too complex for me. As you have already pointed out, in the time spent creating and learning a system that big you could have already reached your pi goals with a smaller system. Just my 2 cents though


3800 in a week and 10k+ in 3 weeks are hella solid dude. Great job and good luck with that, keep it up !

I would struggle to keep up with your pace, the fact that I’m slower makes it more profitable for me to create a more complex number system early on, performance-wise. Moreover, it represents a challenge for me, and I will probably enjoy it more than staying on a 3-digits system.

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4005 digits known ! I will continue with my 3-digit system until 10 008 digits at least, hope I can get the 4-digit system ready to work in the meantime, which should be near next Christmas. The stories are more and more easy to learn and to recall.

Since yesterday I try to find categories for my 4-digit-number system, I found the following 66 but there are still 34 needed. Perhaps y’all can help me a bit with that… 34 is quite a lot, so I needa find some more and maybe duplicate some of them, like architecture (common and famous e.g.) Lemme know what you think. Obviously, it reflects my personal experience and interests, but just brainstorm your ideas, maybe I’m forgetting something easy and obvious.

The categories I found till now are :
family and friends / Youtube people / Twitch people / actors / french singers / rappers / humourists / characters from Breaking bad and The walking dead / characters from La casa de papel and Prison break / characters from The Simpsons / characters from other animes / characters from Les Kassos / characters from Les Inconnus / characters from Cocovoit / characters from le Palmashow / characters from Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Ho / stuff from the Mario universe / Trackmania blocks / Trackmania car skins / various video games stuff / sportsman / jobs / my 4 favourite comics / other comics / superheroes and movie characters / maths and astronomy / various arts / graphic and geometric illusions / school / creatures / body / tools / medical stuff / decoration / cleaning / road / french district’s logos / things used to write / sports / games / books / bioms, weather and minerals / plants / animals / vegetables and fruits / other food / memes / historical figures / clothes / various mascots and logos / characters from Clash of clans and Clash royale / screens / things used to produce light / various ropes and chains / measure instruments / architecture / electronical machines / mechanical machines / kitchen / vehiculs / music intruments / weapons and blades / paper / various signs and allegories / various containers and storing stuff / beverages and liquids.

Take care. And once again, thanks for the help.

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I wonder if the categories could be broken down further. This is just a quick brainstorm, and I don’t know how they would fit into your existing categories.

It might be possible to split architecture into sections:

  • Famous constructions in France (Eiffel Tower, Versailles, etc.)
  • Famous constructions in the US (Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, etc.)
  • Famous constructions of ancient times (Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Royal Palace of Palenque, Petra, etc.)
  • etc.

Or instead of by region it could be by type of structure: “bridges”, “palaces”, and things like that.

For comics it could be split into groups that each have at least 100 items:

  • Characters from X-Men (there are at least 199 just from the X-Men)
  • Characters from Avengers
  • Characters from DC worlds
  • Characters from independent and imprint publishers (TMNT, Dreadstar, etc.)
  • etc.

Mechanical machines could be split into:

  • Simpler machines with only a few basic parts (anything from basic levers and pulleys to things like whammy bars and tuners on guitars, hammers inside of pianos, mousetraps, zippers, sledgehammers, looms, spinning wheels, plows, rakes, lassos, wheelbarrows, etc. — it could even be broken into sub-categories like “simple gardening/agricultural machines/tools”)
  • More complex machines (this could include Rube Goldberg machines, mechanical clocks or clock parts, and other interesting things that can be found online like this, this, and this)
  • Fantasy machines (search Pinterest for ideas)

Electrical machines could be split into:

  • Early electrical machines (various radios, motors, etc.)
  • Computers (including historical computers)
  • Consumer electrical toys (Speak & Spell, Atari 2600, NES, Game Boy, etc.)
  • etc.

Weapons could be broken into countries and historical periods. Even something like “European pole arms” has several distinct possibilities.

Vehicles could be split into multiple categories: civilian land vehicles, military land vehicles, aircraft, boats, motorless “vehicles” (bicycles, hang gliders, wing suits, parachutes, swimming flippers), etc.

There are probably a lot of animal categories: insects, mammals, fish, and dinosaurs and other extinct creatures.

Other ideas:

  • Cartoon characters like Loony Toons or other historical cartoons
  • Dungeons & Dragons monsters
  • A franchise like Star Trek could be its own category just from the characters and devices (phasers, Enterprise, genesis device, atavachron, etc.)
  • artists
  • philosophers
  • scientists
  • novelists
  • famous paintings (or characters from them)

Also check out Wikipedia’s list of lists for more ideas.


Thanks a lot, it helped me nicely. 82/100 rn, gonna extend it asap. I really can’t wait to start using it : ) seems hella promising and efficient : ) btw, I now have 7 architecture categories. Common, houses and buildings, bridges, palaces/castles/villas, towers, prehistoric/antic/religious/mythic, public (libraries, airports, stadiums, etc). That’s a lot, but I feel it’s gonna be nice : )

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I now have my 100 categories set in stone. Currently learning their corresponding number, this should be done in a few days max. And yeah, now that I’m ready, I couldn’t stop myself from learning a few pi digits (from 10 009 to 10 068) this way… and God, what a great idea this four-number system is. I’m glad I did set it up, because it’s really a great feeling to encode 4 digits in a single image, and 12 digits is a single story and loci. I feel like I’m optimizing things as much as I can, and that there is no more efficient way to eat the digits. I love how the images I use are almost non-existant in my older systems, but at the same time well-organized in the new one.

I feel like it shouldn’t be too hard to remember/learn the number system, as I do it along the way. Moreover it’s gonna be easier and easier, and I can’t wait to know even 10% of the images I have to use. (Which btw, should be around 4500 digits with that system, 14500 in total). It’s gonna be very satisfying to see my number system’s spreadsheet go progressively darker and darker as I fill in the blanks… But first I have to speedrun through the remaining ~5900 digits (from 4100 to 10 000) one day or another, maybe I’ll learn both ends simultaneously, don’t know yet… I’ll see.

Anyways, this is a blast. Building a 4-digit number system requires a little bit of work, but there are ways to minimize effort and make it a huge pleasure and a great performance-booster long-term and maybe even short-term to a certain extent. I’ll see how it goes further down the road, but I feel like it’s gonna be alright. Thanks again Josh for the motivation !

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That’s great. Looking forward to reading more updates. :slight_smile:

If you don’t know, I tried to make 4 digit system too.

Not just few days, I spent more than 2 month and I was really dedicated to it that time but in the end I dropped it.

That’s why I am hoping gugu’s do very well. And not drop half made system.

If we are talking about Pi , I have no experience because I never memorizee pi by any techniques.

I know only 1000 digits of pi (but without any techniques like major , ben, pao or any other system)


1,000 digits is a lot when not using memory techniques.

Did you use categories for your system? I wanted to make a 10,000 image system years ago, but didn’t get further than creating a sketch of how it might work. I realized that I wouldn’t have enough free time to do it. :slight_smile:

Yep, I was creating my 10,000 by category way.

And I am kinda doing impossible task there hahaha, (for most category I tried to fill 100 by looking their shapes or some kind of facts)

Thank you, yeah I didn’t use any techniques to memorize 1000 digits (Even I don’t know about memory palace, or any system that time when I Memorized 1000 digits of pi)

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Awesome to hear that the 4 digit system is going well… you guys are almost starting to win me over :confused: i will keep reading your updates posted here but maybe I will give 4 digit system a try at some point if it works out well for you and you reccommend it. I read a post by ben pridmore where he said he thinks the best way to memorise Pi would be to use a 4 digit system and then make it up as you go along.


I also wonder if it is possible to create a 4 digit system with only 5 thousand images instead of 10 thousand using Johannes Mallow’s two-block idea that most of the top mnemonists are now using but for cards only.
As in 0001 and 9999 would correspond to the same image and so would e.g. 3271 and 6739 and then if the number is in the first ‘block’ then images keep being stacked onto the same locus until the number is in the second block in which case you move to the next locus.
5K images is far more manageable than 10K and would give me alot more motivation to make a 4 digit system.


Never heard of that, it seems like a great idea indeed… it’s worth a try. Even if there are some downsides too : half of the loci would have only one image, and about one percent will have 7 or more images, which is quite a lot. The average number of images per loci will be the infinite sum of (n)*(1/(2^n)), n from 1 to infinity, which (I think) converges to 2. It might also require a bit more time on encoding and decoding images I guess.

But yeah, don’t hesitate to try it ! I recommend it : ) As I said, there’s preparation, but if it doesn’t work you’ll not lose that much time, but if it works well for you, then you can gain much time. It also depends on your goals, mines are to learn long-term digits of pi to at least several thousands, if not tens of thousands, and to find the best possible way to learn/encode digits, as a personal challenge. So a complex number system is perfectly appropriate.

If you want to know my 100 set-in-stone categories, tell me. I didn’t use any kind of Major or Dominic system or whatever, only similar categories are close to each other number-wise (e.g. 70xx to 77xx are architectural stuff.)

edit : also, if you wanna do that, I’d advise to pair the digits this way : 0000 with 9999 // 0001 with 9998 // … up to 4999 with 5000. That way, the sum of the two mirrors will be 9999, wich is nice and easy to calculate.

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If you have no problem, I want to know your categories. (I have no problem if it not related with major, pao or any other system)

Here you go :

00 Biomes, water and weather
01 Materials and minerals
02 Palmashow characters
03 Les Inconnus characters
04 Cocovoit characters
05 Les Kassos characters
06 sports
07 outdoor games
08 board games
09 foreign politic people
10 LoL champions
11 SCP creatures
12 superheroes
13 anime characters
14 movie characters
15 actors
16 singers
17 rappers
18 various artists (writers, painters, philosophers etc)
19 books
20 mechanic machines
21 electronic machines
22 complex and Fantasy machines
23 family and friends
24 sportsmen/women
25 jobs
26 Youtube people
27 Twitch people
28 spices, seeds and aromatic herbs
29 alcohols and drugs
30 beverages and liquids
31 fruits and vegetables
32 other food
33 paintings and sculptures (+characters)
34 medical stuff
35 cleaning stuff
36 things you can sit on
37 weapons and blades
38 Breaking Bad/The Walking Dead characters
39 La Casa de Papel/Prison Break characters
40 businessmen, CEOs and famous scammers
41 tv presenters and journalists
42 plants
43 flowers
44 french districts’ logos
45 insects
46 earth mammals
47 reptiles and dinosaurs
48 marine and polar animals
49 containers and boxes
50 posters and signs
51 stickers
52 flags
53 brands and shop signs
54 Mario universe
55 various video games
56 things you can write with
57 diverse writings (binary, roman numerals, calligraphy etc)
58 paper
59 tools
60 measure instruments
61 chains and ropes
62 barriers and frontiers
63 clothes
64 school and office
65 road
66 decoration
67 scientists
68 kitchen
69 human body
70 common architecture (a door, a window etc)
71 stairs and lifts
72 bridges
73 towers
74 houses and buildings
75 villas, castles and palaces
76 public architecture (stadiums, libraries, pools etc)
77 antic, prehistoric and religious architecture
78 Trackmania NF universe
79 Trackmania NF car skins
80 The Simpsons characters
81 Clash of clans and Clash royale characters
82 Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh characters
83 diverse monsters and creatures
84 screens
85 music instruments
86 optic and graphic illusions, cinetic and geometric art, impossible objects
87 graffs
88 diverse signs and allegories (Uncle Sam, etc)
89 light
90 humourists
91 brand mascots
92 internet memes
93 inventions from 1993 (from an old book I have)
94 land vehicles
95 marine and air vehicles
96 my 4 favourite comic strips
97 other comic strips
98 Astronomy
99 Mathematics


Thanks for the info, I am going to add 5 % of your categories in my system.