‘Human Computer’ Shakuntala Devi Dies At 80

Shakuntala Devi, the so-called “human computer,” died on Sunday in Bangalore, India, at the age of 83. She was an Indian mathematical wizard who made incredibly fast calculations.

Devi’s cause of death was respiratory and cardiac problems, according to D.C. Shivadev. Devi demonstrated her incredible mathematical gift around the world, at colleges, in theaters, and on radio and television.

In 1980, the “human computer” correctly multiplied two 13-digit numbers in just 28 seconds at the Imperial College in London. The feat earned her a place in the 1982 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. It was even more remarkable because the time included Ravi reciting the 26-digit solution.

Devi was forced to leave school after just two years to help the family’s finances. But her parents quickly noticed her incredible math abilities. They put her to work as a street performer.

Devi first gained fame when she demonstrated her math skills at the circus. Later on she appeared in road shows arranged by her father. She once said:

“I had become the sole breadwinner of my family, and the responsibility was a huge one for a young child. At the age of 6, I gave my first major show at the University of Mysore, and this was the beginning of my marathon of public performances.”

The human computer toured through Europe in 1950, and when she appeared on the BBC, her answer to another calculation was different from the interviewer’s. It turned out that Davi was correct. A similar answer given at the University of Rome was different from their interviewer’s.

Devi showed off her skills in New York in 1976. In an article, The New York Times praised her abilities, saying:

“She could give you the cube root of 188,132,517 — or almost any other number — in the time it took to ask the question. If you gave her any date in the last century, she would tell you what day of the week it fell on.”

Along with her human computer abilities, Shakuntala Devi was a successful astrologer, cookbook author, and a novelist. It is not clear what Devi’s funeral arrangements are.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

Share this article: ‘Human Computer’ Shakuntala Devi Dies At 80
More from Inquisitr