'Human computer' Shakuntala Devi dead

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bangalore
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2013 02:57 IST

Shakuntala Devi - file photo

Mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi, popularly known as the "human computer" for her ability to make complex mental calculations, died at a city hospital on Sunday.

Devi was admitted at Bangalore Hospital, South End Circle about two and half weeks ago with critical respiratory problems following which she developed heart and kidney problems.

Shakuntala Devi Educational Foundation Public Trust, Trustee DC Shivadev said, "For the past one year Devi was not keeping well, she had been falling ill now and then. On Sunday around 8.15 am she had a heart attack and breathed her last."

Hailing from a humble family, Shakuntala Devi's father was a circus performer. It was at the age of three while she was playing cards with her father that he found his daughter's calculation abilities. She had beaten him not by sleight of hand, but by memorising the cards. Meanwhile, at the age of six, she demonstrated her calculation skills in her first major public performance at the University of Mysore and two years later, she again proved herself successful as a child prodigy at Annamalai University.

In 1977, Devi extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally. In 1980, she gave the answer to a multiplication problem of two 13-digit numbers picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London, in 28 seconds.

(with PTI inputs)


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