SMS scnews item created by Sean Gardiner at Mon 30 Mar 2015 1450
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 3 Apr 2015
Calendar1: 2 Apr 2015 1300-1400
CalLoc1: New Law 104

SUMS: Poladian -- Work Like an Egyptian

For this week’s SUMS event, A/Prof Leon Poladian will be giving the following
interesting talk.  

How did different cultures perform operations like multiplication and division
of large numbers? Some methods are designed to minimise what is written down, other
methods minimise what needs to be carried in one’s head.  Some of the very ancient
methods were designed to be easy to learn or easy to teach (apparently not a criteria
used recently).  Ancient Egyptians managed to multiply large numbers using only addition
and duplation (a fancy name for the operation of doubling a number).  Beginning with
modern western long multiplication and working (mostly) backwards in time, I’ll go
through a variety of algorithms and ideas that actually are or are merely claimed to be
from medieval Europe, the classical Arab world, India, Asia, the Mayans, Russia and
ancient Egypt.