Shakuntala Devi : Human Computer
January 24, 1977. A cold and windy Monday afternoon at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. A beautiful young lady smartly clad in a sari, walks up to the stage. She sits down on a chair smiling at the hundreds of students and professors assembled in the hall. A scholarly professor writes a 201 digit long number on the black board at her side. The number occupies 10 lines and takes four minutes to write. After finishing the number, the professor takes out a stopwatch from his pocket and with a nod at the lady he starts the timer. There is absolute silence in the hall.
The young lady takes one long look at the number and closes her eyes. Seconds tick by. In deep concentration she appears to have gone into a trance. At the fifty-second mark, the lady opens her eyes and slowly pronounces the answer, ?546372891?. The professor checks it with the result given by the computer. Yes, she is correct. It is the 23rd root of the 201 digit long number. Earlier that day, the fastest computer of the time, Univac 1108, had taken 62 seconds to give the answer. Every member of the audience jumped to their feet and applauded the genius who has beaten the computer.
In Dallas she competed with a computer to see who give the cube root of 188138517 faster, she won.
In 1977 At university of USA she was asked to give mentally the 23rd root of 91674867692003915809866092758538016248310668014430862240712651642793465704086709659 32792057674808067900227830163549248523803357453169351119035965775473400756818688305 620821016129132845564895780158806771 (201-digit number).
She answered in 50seconds. The answer is 546372891. It took a UNIVAC 1108 computer, full one minute and 2 seconds (10 seconds more) to confirm that she was right after it was fed with 13000 instructions.
On June 18, 1980 she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers 7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779 picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She answered the question in 28 seconds.
Her correct answer was 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730. This event is mentioned on page 26 of the 1995 Guinness Book of Records.
Early Life of Shakuntala Devi
Shakuntala Devi was born on 4th of November, 1939 in Bengaluru in a well-known Brahmin priest family. She did card tricks with her father when she was only three. Shakuntala Devi received her early lessons in mathematics from her grandfather. By the age of 5, Shakuntala Devi became an expert in complex mental arithmetic and was recognised as a child prodigy. She demonstrated her talents to a large assembly of students and professors at the University of Mysore a year later. And when she was 8 years old, she demonstrated her talents at Annamalai University.
Contributions of Shakuntala Devi
Shakuntala Devi was a genius and once in 1977 she mentally solved the 23rd root of a 201 digit number without any help from mechanical aid. In 1980, 18th June she solved the multiplication of 13 digit number 7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779 picked up by the computer science department of imperial college, London. Shakuntala solved the question in a flash and took 28 seconds to solve the entire problem, and her answer was 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730. This amazing incident helped her get a place in the Guinness book of world record. She has been travelling around the globe performing for the student community, Prime Ministers, Presidents, Politicians and Educationalists.
Shakuntala Devi as an Author
Shakuntala Devi has authored a few books. She shares some of the methods of mental calculations in her world famous book, Figuring: The Joy of Numbers. Puzzles to puzzle You, More Puzzles to puzzle you, The Book of Numbers, Mathability: Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child, Astrology for you, Perfect Murder, In the Wonderland of Numbers are some of the popular books written by her. Her book, In the Wonderland of Numbers, talks about a girl Neha, and her fascination for numbers. Her other books include Astrology for You and The World of Homosexuals.
- Puzzles to Puzzle You.
- More Puzzles to Puzzle You
- Book of Numbers
- More Puzzles
- Figuring: The Joy of Numbers
- In the Wonderland of Numbers
- Super Memory: It Can Be Yours
- Mathability: Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child
- Astrology for You
- The world of homosexuals
Shakuntala Devi is an outstanding astrologer as well and gives remedies based on date and time of birth and place. Her clients include celebrities and well known personalities.