Google Doodle honored Shakuntala Devi on her birthday, 4 November 2013 (today). This is her 84th birthday and first after her death.
Shakuntala Devi (November 4, 1929 – April 21, 2013), popularly known as the “Human Computer”, was a child prodigy and mental calculator. Her talents earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records.
Shakuntala Devi was born in Bangalore, India, to an orthodox Kannada Brahmin family. Her father rebelled against becoming a temple priest and instead joined a circus where he worked as a trapeze artist, lion tamer, tightrope walker and magician.
Devi’s father discovered her ability to memorize numbers while teaching her a card trick when she was about three years old. Her father left the circus and took her on road shows that displayed her ability at number crunching. She was able to do this without any formal education. By age six she demonstrated her calculation and memorization abilities at the University of Mysore.
In 1977 in USA she competed with a computer to see who gives the cube root of 188132517 faster, she won. That same year, at the Southern Methodist University she was asked to give the 23rd root of a 201-digit number; she answered 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.
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 correctly answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds. This event is mentioned in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records.
Content courtesy – Wikipedia & Image courtesy – Google.