Remembering to ‘Human Computer’ Shakuntala Devi on her 84th birth anniversary

The ‘Human Computer’ Shakuntala Devi was a child prodigy and mental calculator and her talent placed her in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. Initially she was discovered by her father while she was teaching a card trick when she was 3 years old. Shakuntala Devi was able demonstrate her calculation and
memorization abilities without formal education and at the age of 6, she demonstrated her talent at the University of Mysore.

Shakuntala Devi is popularly called as the world’s fastest ‘Human Computer’ as she made complex mental calculations. In honour, Google is also celebrating today her 84th birthday with a doodle.

Shakuntala Devi was born on November 4, 1929 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. She travelled the world and demonstrated her arithmetic talent in various places including Europe in 1950; New York, USA, in 1976.

In 1988 her abilities was studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of psychology, at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. The sources state that Jensen tested her performance at several tasks for calculations of large numbers. Examples of the problems presented to Devi were calculating the cube root of 61,629,875, and the seventh root of 170,859,375.

According to the sources, Professor Jensen reported that Devi was able to provide the solution to the aforementioned problems (the answers being 395 and 15 respectively) before Jensen was able to copy them down in his notebook and published his findings in the academic journal Intelligence in 1990.

Shakuntala Devi, in addition to her work as mental calculator, was an astrologer and an author of several invaluable books including cook-books and fictional novels.

Major achievements of Shakuntala Devi:

e In 1977 in USA, Shakuntala Devi was competed with a computer to see who gives the cube root of 188132517 faster and she won in the competition. In the same year at the Southern Methodist University, she was asked to answer the 23rd root of a 201 digit number and she answered the same in 50 seconds. Her answer - 546,372,891 - was confirmed by calculations done at the U.S. Bureau of Standards by the Univac 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation.

e On June 18, 1980, she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She answered correctly 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds. This event mentioned in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records.

Some of the valuable works of Shakuntala Devi in the form of books:
e Some of her books are:
e Puzzles to Puzzle You
e More Puzzles to Puzzle You
e Book of Numbers
e Perfect Murder
e The World of Homosexuals
e Figuring: The Joy of Numbers
e In the Wonderland of Numbers
e Super Memory: It Can Be Yours
e Mathability: Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child
e Astrology for You

Shakuntala Devi died on April 21, 2013 at the age of 83 years for the cause of respiratory and cardiac problems and survived by her daughter, Anupama Banerji. This is hereby from Dimorian Review remembering her with sincere honour to the 'Human Computer' Shakuntala Devi on her 84th birth anniversary!

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