Pointless Large Number Stuff
a website on large numbers by cookiefonster
"There is no infinity. Googology is a never-ending quest to outrun itself."
—Nathan Ho (source)
Welcome to Pointless Large Number Stuff, a website that covers two main topics: numbers in general and very large numbers, my goal being to give a web-book style comprehensive coverage of the topics (particularly the latter) useful for newcomers and experts alike. If you're new to large numbers or this site, read the introduction for more on the purpose of this site and how it is intended to be read.
This site was initially active from May 2014 to February 2016, when I had updated it with new content quite regularly, but I eventually became bored of googology due to lack of activity in the community, and the site lay mostly dormant for years since. However, in April 2022, I started working on updating some of this site's content while moving it over to the new Google Sites. The updates to the site are currently ongoing!
If you want to see the old version of this site using the old Google Sites layout, I have good news: every single page is on the Wayback Machine! I know many people are averse to when websites change their layout, and I sometimes am too, but I tried my best to make this site look presentable on the move to the new Google Sites.
Read the introduction if you're new to large numbers or this site.
SECTION I: Basic Numbers, -illions, and Astronomical Magnitudes
Let's begin our journey through the large numbers with the numbers that we use in daily life, and then some larger numbers that we sometimes see in science. Additionally, we'll examine how people have stretched the names used in the English language to outrageous heights.
SECTION II: Recursion and Common Notations
In this section, we learn about the popular tools for making numbers much larger than those we learned about in section 1, like Knuth's up-arrows or Conway's chain arrows, which transcend almost all practical use except for exotic corners of mathematics. We'll also learn the true stories behind famous large numbers you may have heard of like Graham's number.
SECTION III: Hierarchies, Arrays, and Hydras
In this section, we go beyond the popular large numbers discussed in section 2, to explore some much lesser-known and much more interesting googology. This is where googology as we know it really begins: serious attempts to explore the best ways to make large numbers, rather than just coming up with some numbers that are really big by most people's standards and calling it a day.
Section 3.1: Googological Notations Part 1
Section 3.2: Googological Notations Part 2 (planned)
Section 3.3: Fast-Growing Sequences in Googology (currently only introduction)
SECTION L: The Pointless Gigantic List Database
This is the supplemental section of my site, devoted to lists of anything related to googology. The main list is the multi-part Pointless Gigantic List of Numbers (PGLN for short), and other lists include a timeline of large numbers, a list of infinite numbers, and a list of large number functions.
A few times on this site, I have written joke articles, typically for a holiday like April Fools Day or whatever else. Please don't take the content in any of them seriously.
4/20/2023: Added two entries to my number list (part 1 and part 2) related to the number of possible images in Mario Paint, suggested by someone who emailed me.
3/20/2023: Added a bunch of entries related to temperature scales to two pages in my number list because I wanted to give negative numbers some love.
2/5/2023: If you know any children who are into large numbers, then I know the perfect book for them! Joey Benun just released a book called Pebbles and the Biggest Number, which he told me took inspiration from my site. I ordered a copy of it today, and he sent me money so that I could effectively get it for free.
11/19/2022: Updated a few entries on part 1 and part 2 of my number list to acknowledge the new SI prefixes made official a few days ago. This also served as an excuse to put out some formatting updates I have sat on for months, where I reformatted articles 2.01, 2.02, and part of 2.03, as well as the spoof articles and some navigation pages. God, this site is such a behemoth.
5/28/2022: For this site's eighth anniversary, I have given it a makeover on the new Google Sites, with many of its articles revised and updated and with more revisions to come! Read this announcement for more information.
4/23/2022: Started working on updating the site's content for the new Google Sites. You won't be able to read this text until May 28, the eighth anniversary of this site.
OLDER UPDATES... / ANNOUNCEMENT ARCHIVE
About the Author
If you're wondering about who exactly wrote this site, read below.
I am a human male living in Ohio, USA, born April 3, 1999, who identifies on the Internet under the screen name cookiefonster. In real life, I work in software development and extensively make and perform music as a hobby. At the time I regularly updated this website, I specialized mainly in two fields: mathematics and music. Both fields have interested me since childhood, the latter of which I've worked with especially much in recent years. Since then, I've branched out into studying linguistics and computer science. These days, in my free time I like to read things online that interest me, make music and videos (largely involving Internet memes), and sometimes work on ambitious projects in a similar vein to this one.
As a child I was never very interested in large numbers; I did not really get into large numbers until late 2013, after googling the -illions due to boredom. This led me to discover Googology Wiki (of which was for quite a while a regular contributor) and learn about large numbers. On May 28, 2014, I decided to launch this website. It started as a random website with just some random large number stuff on it (hence the name of the site), although I soon got rather carried away with this project and it grew into a serious attempt to cover any and all large numbers. To this day, I am impressed with myself that I maintained something so ambitious that got to a pretty far degree.
Here I will share links to anything on the Internet that I find noteworthy that relate to large numbers.
Sbiis Saibian's Large Number Site (One to Infinity: A Guide to the Finite) - This is Sbiis Saibian's large number site, by far the biggest inspiration for this website. It is a web-book under construction that gives a detailed and thorough review of numeral systems, large numbers in the real world, functions that generate googologically large numbers, and more, and like my site it's designed to be a googology resource for newcomers and "experts" alike. Perhaps the most notable thing there is his own Extensible-E notation for making large numbers, where he names over 15,000 googolisms!
Googology Wiki - This is a wiki and forum dedicated to large numbers that anyone can contribute to, founded by Nathan Ho. It's how I myself discovered the wonderful world of googology. The wiki has pages about numbers, large number functions, people, and some concepts. It's also a great hub for people in the googology community to chat about googology, share their own large numbers, and analyze/formalize systems.
Notable Properties of Specific Numbers - A very long list of numbers sorted by size, by Robert Munafo. It lists any and all kinds of numbers with interesting properties, ranging from purely numeric properties to numbers like 42 or 666 with huge significance to human culture. The list of numbers only goes up to Steinhaus's mega, but he discusses far larger numbers in his large numbers site. It's a major part of the inspiration for my own list of numbers.
Robert Munafo's Large Numbers - This is the part of Robert Munafo's website where he describes various large numbers and ways to notate them. It is one of the very first serious coverages of large numbers ever created on the Internet! He goes over large numbers and ways to denote them in order of size in a way accessible to the layman. Unlike Sbiis Saibian's long articles, this website's information is presented quite concisely.
If you have questions or comments about this site, or would like to point out a mistake (pointing out mistakes I happen to make is encouraged, as I want this website to be technically accurate) I made, feel free to email me:
cookiefonster99 [at Google's mail domain]
Alternately, you can contact me on Discord (@cookiefonster#5454) if you so prefer.
If you're curious about some of the other works I've put out on the Internet, you can click "MORE LINKS..." above.