Shakuntala Devi dies: Novelist and 'human computer' was 83
The New York Times reports Devi passed from respiratory and cardiac problems, according to D.C. Shivadev, a trustee of the Shakuntala Devi Educational Foundation Public Trust.
In 1977, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Devi found the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in just 50 seconds, besting a Univac computer, which took 62 seconds. She earned herself a mention in the 1982 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records when, in 1980, she correctly multiplied two 13-digit numbers in just 28 seconds, a feat made all the more astounding by the fact that it included the time to recite the 26-digit answer.
She won fame by demonstrating her ability at the circus, and later in road shows. "I had become the sole breadwinner of my family, and the responsibility was a huge one for a young child," she once said. "At the age of 6, I gave my first major show at the University of Mysore, and this was the beginning of my marathon of public performances."
Beyond her incredibly ability, Devi was also a successful astrologer and cookbook author.