Shakuntala Devi from India, also known as the human computer, gave the 23rd root of a 201 digit number in 50 seconds. The answer was verified at the US Bureau of Standards by the UNIVAC 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation.
Devi travelled to several countries around the world demonstrating her arithmetic talents. She was on a tour of Europe throughout 1950 and was in New York City in 1976. In 1988, she travelled to the US to have her abilities studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of educational psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Jensen tested her performance at several tasks, including the calculation of large numbers. Examples of the problems presented to Devi included calculating the cube root of 61,629,875 and the seventh root of 170,859,375. Jensen reported that Devi provided the solution to the above mentioned problems (395 and 15, respectively) before Jensen could copy them down in his notebook. Jensen published his findings in t… Continue Reading (4 minute read)