Shakuntala Devi, 'the human computer,' dies

Shakuntala Devi was able to multiply random 13-digit numbers in her head in seconds. She had no formal education.

"The human computer," capable of solving complex mathematical equations in her head in seconds, has died.

Shakuntala Devi, 83, died Saturday in Bangalore, India, The New York Times reported. The Times said she had respiratory problems prior to her death.

Devi was known as "the human computer" for her astounding mathematical abilities.

According to The Telegraph, Devi had no formal education.

Yet, in London in 1980, she multiplied two random 13-digit numbers in seconds. Asked to multiply 7,686,369,774,870 by 2,465,099,745,779, Devi paused for just 28 seconds before producing the correct answer — 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730.

The feat earned her a place in Guinness World Records.

The Telegraph reported that Devi displayed remarkable mathematical skill since she was child. She was also witty and had an excellent memory.

Devi grew up in Bangalore. Her father, according to The Telegraph, was a circus performer.

She visited the U.S. in 1988 to display her abilities for educational psychologist  Arthur Jensen, The Telegraph said.

The newspaper said she participated in an exercise where volunteers wrote math problems on a blackboard. Devi would turn around, stare at the problem and produce the correct answer in less than a minute.

"Numbers have life, they’re not just symbols on paper," Devi said, according to The Telegraph. "I cannot transfer my abilities to anyone, but I can think of quicker ways with which to help people develop numerical aptitude."


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