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Math Whiz Breaks Calculation Record

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the show-off dept.

Science 391

keyshawn632 writes "The Associated Press reports that Gert Mittring, 38, needed only 11.8 seconds to calculate the 13th root of a 100-digit number in his head at a math museum in Giessen, a small town, located in western Germany. It's worth noting though that his feat will not be recognized by The Guinness Book Of World Records because of the difficulty of standardizing such mathematical challenges."

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391 comments

samzpenus breaks story posting record (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914845)

Slow down cowboy! 2 minutes?

The other story disappeared! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914859)

What happened to Scientists Reveal the Couch Potato Gene [slashdot.org] ? It was on the front page minutes ago.

Hrmm (1, Flamebait)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914851)

Probally had some special algorithm developed specifically for that purpose. And what is the practical purpose of this? Other then he wasted a good deal of time figuring out how to find the 13th root of a 100 digit number in his head?

Re:Hrmm (1)

AnimeKid (726135) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914862)

Probably just a feat that is well regarded but doesn't serve much other than the "oooooo" factor? Just my guess.

Re:Hrmm (3, Insightful)

Travy.b (815549) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914872)

11 odd seconds aint a great deal of time mate ;)

What? (5, Insightful)

HardJeans (793993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914857)

I can't even read 100 digits in 30 seconds.

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

ricotest (807136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914955)

The dude can memorize a 22 digit number in four seconds (according to the article) so I'm sure he can take a similar time to juggle the numbers around in his head. Perhaps his mental algorithm focuses on certain numbers at a time so that he can handle it.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915070)

...so I'm sure he can take a similar time to juggle the numbers around in his head.

Pfft [66.102.7.104] , They just make it up...

I can do better (3, Funny)

Attar81 (574867) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914863)

I can say all fifty states in a quarter of a second!

Re:I can do better (1, Funny)

comwiz56 (447651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914874)

Lois: Peter, why would they make you presidesnt?
Peter: Maybe it's because I can recite all 50 states in a quarter of a second - RARF!
Lois: Peter, that was just a loud yelping noise

Re:I can do better (4, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915033)

"Name a state. Within a second, I'll tell you the capital of it."

"Wisconsin"

"W."

That's nothing (3, Funny)

bmzf (731840) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914866)

I can do that with my eyes closed. It'll just take me a bit longer.

Re:That's nothing (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914913)

Well, I can do that with one hand tied behind my back. I'd need the other hand free to do the calculation though.

And a PC.

Re:That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914968)

hell i can do it with my eyes tied behind my back

13 is an unlucky number!!!!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914876)

Now what if a black cat crossed his path!!!!! He would then like factor the matrix code and the world would hang in an infinite loop from the resulting glitch!!!!!111

OMG OMG OMG

"memorizing 22 random digits in just four seconds" (1)

AnimeKid (726135) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914880)

"memorizing 22 random digits in just four seconds" (per the article) God... Wonder if they were 22 individual digits or one huge number. If it was the former...wonder if the ordering was relevant... Hell I have a hard time remembering phone numbers beyond my own =\ I'd like his brain >=D

That's easy. (5, Funny)

rackhamh (217889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914883)

Just memorize the 13th root of every 100-digit number in existence. Sheesh.

How to Play the Flute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914970)

I smell Monty Python [utwente.nl] .

Re:That's easy. (1)

Highpriest (758004) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915053)

It would all depend on how many floating point digits he had to calculate. Continuing digit division on a floating point number isn't hard if you only have to calculate 5 places. But if the significant digits were say 20 and it had to be done in 11 or so seconds that would be an extremely hard feat.

Re:That's easy. (5, Informative)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915141)

Just memorize the 13th root of every 100-digit number in existence. Sheesh.

Let's just think about this for a minute.

100-digit numbers will fall between 10^99 and 10^100. Thirteenth-roots of such numbers will lie between 10^(99 / 13) and 10^(100 / 13), or in the range [41246264 .. 49238826]. That's about 8 million possibilities, and the distribution is far from linear.

But it's linear enough that the first nine digits of the 100-digit number yield a unique possibility for a root. And the last digit of the root will be the same as the last digit of the 100-digit number, because (N mod 10) always equals (N^13 mod 10). So the problem can be tackled from both ends, with the middle digits of the root being the hardest.

Of course, if the audience members are clued in, they can still beat the mental calculator hands down. Type the first nine digits, take the thirteenth root, and start reading off the digits; round up slightly to make the eighth significant digit match the final digit of the 100-digit number. Done.

A college professor of mine taught us how to square 3-digit numbers in our head in seconds using tricks like this; he was able to multiply arbitrary 5-digit numbers in his head, and often performed this onstage. And for the curious, yes, I do actually have a life outside slashdot. :-)

I know you were joking, but... (2, Insightful)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915144)

The number of elementary particles in the universe is estimated to be around an 80-digit number. It would be impossible to even write every 100-digit number in existance--you'd run out of matter in the universe first. Even if that were possible, just imagine the time it would take to even look at each one...

It's really interesting to think of all the hard limits in the universe caused by things like this.

Although (1)

Striker770S (825292) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914886)

with the amount of high calculating that he does know, it would probably throw him off if they ask what 1+1 is =p

Re:Although (2, Funny)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915066)

I know that one!

1 + 1 = 10

I can (seriously) do 43rd root of 100 digit number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914888)

Record? How do you know it was a record? Probably he himself claimed it was a record and the press published it.

When I was in college, I received some training from a genius about how to do these calculations. I practiced and could calculate 43rd root of a 100 digit number 1 to 3 seconds. Is that a better record? I am sure there are literally hundreds of people who can do this.

Re:I can (seriously) do 43rd root of 100 digit num (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914900)

no no no, it's because it's http://apnews.myway.com//article/20041124/D86IDI10 0.html [myway.com] Gert Mittring, 38. That is why it is a record ;)

Re:I can (seriously) do 43rd root of 100 digit num (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915104)

Its a record becuase AP says so?

Re:I can (seriously) do 43rd root of 100 digit num (1)

AnimeKid (726135) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914901)

"Onlookers with electronic calculators needed more time to solve the problem that Gert Mittring figured on his own, with two umpires checking the time, at a math museum in the small German town of Giessen near Frankfurt in western Germany." Per the article.

Re:I can (seriously) do 43rd root of 100 digit num (2, Funny)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914997)

You know what. Back, in my jedi-training, i was SOOOO strong in the force i could let the sun shine out of my ass!
Dont believe me?
I dont believe you either.
So stop bullshitting.

Break RECORD? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914890)

How could he break a record if there is no proper documentation on such feats?

wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914896)

I can drink a Beer that fast :)

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915003)

Most people can drink a beer that fast, and, of course, I assume you mean a pint of beer, not a bottle....

Family guy (4, Funny)

comwiz56 (447651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914897)

Obligitory Family Guy quote:

Lois: Peter, why would they make you presidesnt?
Peter: Maybe it's because I can recite all 50 states in a quarter of a second - RARF!
Lois: Peter, that was just a loud yelping noise

Re:Family guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915127)

Please, that is *so* not redundant.

Now, this comment, this is redundant.

Wallow in redundancy!

Sources report... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914898)

...Mittring will now go for the record of longest lifespan without losing one's virginity.

And the answer is: (2)

fred911 (83970) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914907)

Five. Everyone knows that!

Re:And the answer is: (4, Funny)

goon america (536413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914958)

you misspelled "forty-two".

Re:And the answer is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915158)

That's three, sir.

Wow.. (1)

Maxite (782150) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914912)

Something not even I can do, even if I tried.. But I wouldn't even want to do that. Cheers to the fellow.

Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914916)

Sweet

Really? (2)

zealousness (258105) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914918)

Can he really calculate the 13-th root of any given 100-digit number mentally in 12 seconds? If true, that's too amazing....

I can hardly believe that. Just imagine how long he takes to memorize the 100-digit number...put it into his head, then do the calculation...-.-

just wondering...

38, ohhh (2, Interesting)

photon_chac (306576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914935)

According to Neumann's thoery, a math guy reaches his peak at about 26, could this _Gert Mittring_ be a bit more 'number-crunching' at that age?

Someone has to say it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914939)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of Gert Mittrings!!

heh (1)

NeoGeo64 (672698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914944)

This reminds me of that movie Rainman where he could do complex calculations in his head. He also read phonebooks for fun.

11.8 Seconds (3, Funny)

dupper (470576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914945)

Definitely 11.8 seconds.

So Guinness not suck now? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914946)

It seems everyone had forgot that Guiness had held its own Guinness record for world's most dangerous domain hijacker [slashdot.org] . One minute readers cried foul for losing civil rights, the next minute they are supporting these violators by promoting them! What a bunch of whining hypocrites. Show some backbone next time, because they are going to smash you into spineless fools if you don't.

Re:So Guinness not suck now? (1)

b0lt (729408) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914972)

Er, wrong Guinness. The one mentioned in the article is the world record Guiness. The one you linked to is the beer company.

Re:So Guinness not suck now? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914996)

They're the same company, dipstick.

Re:So Guinness not suck now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915032)

Actually, Guiness record was produced by the same beer company [wikipedia.org] . Sure, it was sold to someone else, but that happened after the company had hijacked some critics' domains. You could bet some of these hijackers are still running both companies.

Yes, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914952)

Does he run Linux?

Re:Yes, But... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915010)

No, he runs Windows. If he ran Linux the calculation wouldn't have taken so long. : D

Re:Yes, But... (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915162)

I wouldn't necessarily trust a Windows calculator [microsoft.com] .

Re:Yes, But... (1)

goon america (536413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915166)

He would just have to spend a few hours mucking around in the configuration files

mod 04 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914960)

pallid bodies and goals. It's when Isn't a lemonade vary for different and sling or table Is busy infighting other members in worthwhile. It'S [samag.com] in the Paranoid conspiracy

Ironic...I'm currently listening to... (4, Funny)

taradfong (311185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914973)

Just as I read this article, what would start playing in my playlist but Mr. Roboto. I wonder if he has parts made in Japan?

Solution using Parrot/Perl6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914975)

Perl6/Parrot lets you solve this problem using far fewer lines of code. Take a look. [otierney.net]

I think I saw that guy... (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914977)

... lurking near the ATM, looking over my shoulder, memorizing my PIN.

Re:I think I saw that guy... (1)

dousk (829088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915188)

..... and he could probably stand there and look at 25 - 1 more guys' PIN before he had to start writing down :-D

And still has 0.00005% of getting laid (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914978)

did he figure that one out?

Re:And still has 0.00005% of getting laid (2, Funny)

xeyr (775185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915024)

As opposed to your average sleek, athletic slashdotter who is a regular sex machine.

Re:And still has 0.00005% of getting laid (4, Funny)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915036)

I think a better joke would be.

And that would be the only rooting this guy will ever do in his life

11.8 seconds? (1)

eeg3 (785382) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914980)

Ha! I can calculate that in a mere 3.14 seconds, infidel!

Re:11.8 seconds? (1)

tominfinitenerd.com (805518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915008)

yum, thanksgiving pi

This is very nearly as important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914983)

...as the ability to break 2x4's with your bare hands.

Re:This is very nearly as important (3, Funny)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915136)

Unfortunately, he _still_ can't pound a 6" spike into a 2x4 with his penis. And everyone knows, a girl's got to have her standards.

Re:This is very nearly as important (1)

OneOver137 (674481) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915200)

I watched that movie last night! Kent! Kent! This is Jesus...

Cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10914985)

Did they say what type of cooling unit he used to avoid brain meltdown? He's gotta be way overclocked.

record (0, Redundant)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914993)

He does hold the world record for memorizing 22 random digits in just four seconds

another incredible feat! that's impressive, this guy is a superhuman. seriously, it would take me a good 15 minutes (maybe more) to memorize 22 random digits.

Bounds (1, Redundant)

Shishberg (819760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915000)

Can someone confirm this maths... it seems that the 13th root of a hundred-digit number must be between 41246264 and 49238826 - a range of about 8 million. So it's actually narrowed down for him.

A bit.

By some definition of "narrowed down".

Okay, he's still a freak.

Re:Bounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915100)

I can confirm that there is no such word as 'maths' you smelly limey freak.

Re:Bounds (2, Informative)

Atealtha (752341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915170)

maybe he just memorized 13th root of all 3 digit numbers? The range is now 899, sort of.

Someone already mentioned his memorization skills. I think this was the trick. Someone memorized tons and tons of digits of pi. So when someone starts reading a random section of digits he can recite the next hundred or so. Doesn't mean he calculates pi every time.

Guiness Book of World Records sucks anyhow... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915007)

For all of the real records of achievement that exist in this world, there are numerous examples in their book of utter crap that doesn't amount to anything. The most people in a pie eating contest in one place. The most times running through a field serviced by multiple beehives. The largest cheese sandwich. The Houston 500. Etc, etc, etc.

Devi: another brilliant mathematical mind (5, Interesting)

GreenPenInc (792018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915012)

When I was a kid, my dad lent me a book of Shakuntala Devi's book, "Figuring". She was famous some years ago (in the 50s, I believe) for her own computational ability, multiplying two 13-digit numbers in her head in 28 seconds.

The book itself was an interesting read, and at the time I just ate it up. It has a lot of tricks regarding number theory, mathematical riddles, calendar tricks, and calculation of pi, for example. It teaches how to figure the day of the week for any Gregorian date of any time in a few seconds, a trick which I still remember and use today!

As for the Pi, it contained a few poems and sayings whose letter counts signified the individual digits. I started trying to memorize pi, with my sights set firmly on the world record (as I am not without my own mathematical and mnemonic prowess). However, around grade 9, I decided to abandon my quest in order to get a life. I had memorized 1350 digits at that point.

One such quote held little significance for me at the time, but has since become hilarious. "How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy chapters involving quantum mechanics!" Needless to say, my quantum prof found it quite funny. :)

Re:Devi: another brilliant mathematical mind (0, Troll)

corbettw (214229) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915105)

However, around grade 9, I decided to abandon my quest in order to get a life. I had memorized 1350 digits at that point.

Damn, you were too late.

Re:Devi: another brilliant mathematical mind (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915106)

"It teaches how to figure the day of the week for any Gregorian date of any time in a few seconds, a trick which I still remember and use today!"

Me too. Although I always forget what doomsday is this year (Sunday iirc).

Re:Devi: another brilliant mathematical mind (2, Interesting)

Skeezix (14602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915114)

I'm not sure which method you use, but I included one method in an article I wrote on memory improvement [pubcrawler.org] which some slashdot readers might find interesting.

With some practice, you really can get to the point where you can calculate days of the week for any date in just a few seconds. People don't realize it's not all that difficult so it's a nice parlor trick.

Also included in that article are methods for remembering long-digit numbers, the order of a deck of cards, etc.

Re:Devi: another brilliant mathematical mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915172)

some similar books were writen by a russian guy named Trachtenberg while he was in a german death camp durring ww2. Interesting stuff.

My Turn (2, Funny)

Stupidhead (834364) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915035)

1 One Thousand
2 One Thousand
3 One Thousand
4 One Thousand
5 One Thousand
6 One Thousand
7 One Thousand
8 One Thousand
9 One Thousand
10 One Thousand
11 One Thousand
12 One Thousand
FVCK!#$

The first mentat? (4, Funny)

Rai (524476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915044)

Get this guy some sappho juice.

I so call bullshit (5, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915057)

Unless there is some really trivial algorithm for finding 13th roots I totally call bullshit. If it takes him four seconds to memorize a 22 digit number how can he manipulate and find a 13th root for a 100 digit number in just over twice that amount of time?

There has to be a trick to it aside from "thinking really fast"

Tom

Re:I so call bullshit (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915167)

There has to be a trick to it aside from "thinking really fast"

Well of course, there is. Probably two or three tricks combined. . .plus thinking really fast, as well as having a good memory for numbers.

Walking a tightrope is more than just having "good balance," and it's really just a trick, and not necessarily a very useful one, but. . .

It is still pretty impressive and you can't do it.

KFG

ahh (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915061)

It's worth noting though that his feat will not be recognized by The Guinness Book Of World Records because of the difficulty of standardizing such mathematical challenges.

That's the problem when dealing with a highly subjective field like mathematics.

Re:ahh (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915159)

There are some very objective fields in the GBOWR - they reward absent-minded and even plain stupid achievements (the most people in a phone booth, for example; even though there is no world standard size person or phone booth) but will not reward intelligence.

There is no real way to say, however, whether this guy cheated or not. It wouldn't be hard to pre-arrange the number with whomever was generating the 100 digit number in the first place, go and calculate the 13th root and memorise it before you are "told" the number and asked to calculate the 13th root. I am not implying that he did cheat, however, just that it is possible if you _really_ wanted to.

It is, on the other hand, hard to cheat when you're shoving pencils in your nose or people in a phone box. They're either in there or they're not.

News Flash... (1)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915068)

Gert Mittring, 38, needed only 11.8 seconds to calculate the 13th root of a 100-digit number in his head

In a related bit of odd coincidence to this story, 11.8 seconds is the longest Gert has ever talked to a single female at any one given time.

What he will be doing next week... (4, Insightful)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915097)


Probably breaking codes for some government or another. Someone with talent with numbers and such will catch the eye of someone out there. Could it be that this was just to show off his talent as a sort of "job interview"? Probably not, but I expect he will get some calls about it anyway.

this just in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915099)

as a side note, he has also never seen a human vagina in person

And in other news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915103)

After some months of training, I'm now able to calculate *any* 100-digit root of zero *instantly*!

The future is here (3, Interesting)

forgetmenot (467513) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915108)

When I hear about people like this I can't help but think of "Dune" and it's Mentats.

I would like to know how much of this ability is genetically determined and how much is due to training and from what age did his "gifts" become apparent.

Either he needs to be stuck into some kinda breeding program (perhaps solving his virginity problem *hyuk hyuk*) or his training regimen needs to be studied and duplicated en masse. Imagine an advanced state-of-the-art military computer system that runs on 3-square meals a day and isn't susceptible to EMP bursts.

Re:The future is here (1)

Ace905 (163071) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915143)

Humans are susceptable to EMP bursts, but worse, they're subject to bullets.

dumb tricks... (1, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915121)

It sounds impressive, but how usefull is doing something a machine can already do more quickly and efficiently? John Henry [wikipedia.org] learned this the hard way. As others have pointed out there's tricks and shortcuts that people use to doing these calculations, so most of it just amounts to mathematical parlor tricks.

The implicaton is this guy is a genius. Maybe he is, but calculating roots quickly doesn't make you a genius, it just means you know some math tricks. Isn't this just the mathematical equivalent of how many peanuts can you stuff up your nose?

Re:dumb tricks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915189)

I'm gonna get me a calculator too!'

Wizard... (2, Interesting)

fourharpoon (738994) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915123)


Apparently, most /.-ers don't value this feat highly. Well it makes sense, these geeks don't love computer for no reason :-)

But IMHO, it's a great gift, nonetheless. Heck, I can't even remember my girlfriend's birthday.


~ Sig is not parsed by modder

Gert disqualified and sued! (4, Funny)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915137)

Gert Mittring was disqualified when judges noted a small sticker on his chest in a post-event checkup. It was discovered that he had Intel Inside.

The news set off a legal feeding frenzy. SCO sued Mr. Mittring for using the company's super secret 13th root finder source code. Microsoft then added to the man's woes by suing for patent infringement over Microsoft's patents on 100 digit numbers. RIAA then sued him for including "8675309" in the answer -- obviously a stolen clip from "Jenny" by Tommy Tutone.

Imagine (0, Redundant)

snnmnd (45173) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915151)

Imagine a Beowolf cluster of this guy!

The rules (1)

strange_attract0r (618111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915156)

It's for a 100-digit number whose13th root is an integer. Read the rules about how it works here [recordholders.org]

Photo of Gert Mittring here (3, Informative)

Magickcat (768797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915164)

A photo of Gert Mittring can be found here. [recordholders.org]

Please note his rather tasteful attire.

The page also has information on the actual rules on calculating the 13th root of a 100 digit number.

13th root (1)

russ_allegro (444120) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915195)

There are 13 thirteen roots of a 100 digit number.

11.8 seconds? (2, Funny)

bzBetty (787223) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915197)

pppfffft, my 286 can do it faster...

Increasing math ability (2, Interesting)

_Hellfire_ (170113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915201)

This guy appears to have "superhuman" math ability, and I would imagine that it's just the way this guy's brain is wired that allows him to do that.

I always wonder if there is a condition that works in the opposite way, a bit like dyslexia for reading/writing for maths, a sort of "mathlexia" if you will. Just as dyslexia doesn't mean you're stupid, it's just that your particular model of brain doesn't comprehend words straight away, a person with "mathlexia" can't add up 137 and 48 in their head to save their life, let alone do anything complicated like division or factorisation.

If there is such a thing as mathlexia, I'd say I've definately got it. The funny thing is, I love computers, I love programming (in C among other languages, though a mastering of assembly has persistently eluded my efforts), and I can understand even engineering diagrams and other geeky stuff. I kicked ass in English Literature at high school (even though I didn't particularly enjoy it and it's not where my passions lie); but I cannot do maths in my head if my life depended on it. Even with a calculator I get lost in the process of doing a complicated sum, but I would say I'm at least a half decent programmer. It's not that I have a problem with a logical process, it's the math part that throws me.

Is it just the way my brain is wired? Is there a big secret no-one's telling me that will make this all easy? Am I destined for a life of going "uh huh? righto..." when someone explains a (pure) math concept to me? Or is there some hope for a math dummy like me?

If anyone knows the answer(s) to any of this I would be eternally thankful.

Lucky Guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10915203)

Maybe it was just a lucky guess.
What are the odds?

Here's a challenge (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915206)

That involves some memory...

Fastest time to find the char-2 differential profile of a random bijective 4x4 look up table. No gimmicky tricks there just pure nlogn work in your head ;-)

From what others have posted and I've read on the net the 13th root is a trick to a large part. The leading digits are a strong indicator of the value of the root, etc, etc, etc.

Or something with more practical implications... fastest time to perform an inverse cosine transform [type used in MPEG video] of an 8x8 matrix in your head. ;-) Nothing like decoding JPEGs with only your mind.

Tom
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