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Topic: Mathematics wizard Shakuntala Devi passes on
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Dr. Jai Maharaj

Posts: 276
Registered: 1/30/06
Mathematics wizard Shakuntala Devi passes on
Posted: Apr 21, 2013 7:17 PM
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Mathematics wizard Shakuntala Devi dead

The Times of India
April 22, 2013

Credited with solving some frightfully complicated
arithmetic problems with apparent ease and astonishing
speed, Devi’s calculating skills stunned the world
throughout the 1970s and 80s.

Bangalore: Shakuntala Devi, known for her mathematical
prowess and the ability to compute complex equations
mentally, died at Bangalore Hospital at 8:15am on Sunday,
age 73. She was admitted to the hospital with respiratory
difficulty, following which she acquired heart problems
and endured a heart attack on Saturday evening. She was
then on ventilator support but suffered another cardiac
arrest early on Sunday, which proved fatal.

Credited with solving some frightfully complicated
arithmetic problems with apparent ease and astonishing
speed, Devi's calculating skills stunned the world
throughout the 1970s and 80s. Her sharpness often made
sophisticated digital devices seem inadequate.

The computing prodigy was born on November 4, 1939, in
Bangalore, to an orthodox priestly Brahmin family. She
may have had rebellious genes, for, her father, refusing
to conform and become a priest, chose to play a circus
performer, excellent in trapeze, tightrope and cannonball
shows. When she was only three, Devi began showing great
affinity with numbers. By the time she was five, she
became an expert in solving complex mental arithmetic.

Fame became hers when she beat one of the world's fastest
computers by 10 seconds in a complicated mathematics
calculation. Multiplying two 13-digit numbers in 28
seconds earned her a place in the Guinness Book of

Devi had no access to proper schooling and food in her
early years. In an interview with TOI, Bangalore, some
years ago, she said, "I have not gone to a school. At 10,
I was admitted to Class 1 of St Theresa's Convent in
Chamarajpet. But my parents could not afford the monthly
fee of Rs 2, so in three months, I was thrown out. I grew
up in a semi-slum area in Gavipuram, Guttahalli.

"It's my dream to open a mathematics university and R&D
centre, which will educate a cross-section of people,
using modern techniques, short-cuts and smart methods. I
cannot transfer my abilities to anyone, but I can think
of quicker ways with which to help people develop
numerical aptitude. There are a large number of people
whose logic is unexplored."

It 2010, she had filed a police complaint accusing her
domestic help of cheating. She was threatened by a gang
for lodging the complaint and had confessed to being
scared of stepping out of her house.

"She was a vibrant lady who was sharp-minded and
energetic. A witty person, she was fiercely independent
as well," said DC Shivdev Deshmudre, trustee, Shakuntala
Devi Educational Foundation Public Trust.

"Devi used very distinctive but offbeat techniques, which
were not always based on theorem, but her methods were
correct and gave results. Her capability to perform
sophisticated computation, which could beat computers,
gave her a stature of a computational wizard. Her death
is a great loss to us all," said Professor Y Narahari,
chairman, computer science, Indian Institute of Science

"Shakuntala Devi used a high degree of mnemonic devices
in their brain and had tremendous retention power, unlike
most normal human beings. She was able to hold on to
large number of digits (both input and output) in her
memory. She, however, can't be termed as a mathematical
genius but a computational genius," said Prof CE Veni
Madhavan, computer science and automation department,

Devi is survived by a daughter, son-in-law and two

Continues at:

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

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