April 28, 2013

Shakuntala Devi - the “human computer”

The New York Times with some mind-boggling facts about this amazing math prodigy, who passed away recently:

In 1980, she correctly multiplied two 13-digit numbers in only 28 seconds at the Imperial College in London. The feat, which earned her a place in the 1982 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, was even more remarkable because it included the time to recite the 26-digit solution.

(The numbers, selected at random by a computer, were 7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779. The answer was 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730.)

The Atlantic has them laid out as a short list.

Man, think about those figures - I don’t even know how to pronounce them right. Let alone understand. Let alone calculate.

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