Genius French Math-lete!

NEW YORK, Nov 15 - French ``mathlete’’ Alexis Lemaire showed off his rare mental agility today, claiming a new world record after working out in his head the 13th root of a random 200-digit number in just 72.4 seconds.

Lemaire, a 27-year-old doctoral student in artificial intelligence from Reims, near Paris, sat at a laptop computer that randomly selected the figure and displayed it on the screen.

The number was so long it ran over 17 lines.

Lemaire, who says he doesn’t consider himself a nerd or a geek, then took just over a minute to identify two quadrillion, 397 trillion, 207 billion, 667 million, 966 thousand, 701 as the 13th root.:eek:

In other words, the number multiplied by itself 13 times produces the 200 digit number originally generated by the computer.

``The first digit is very easy, the last digit is very easy, but the inside numbers are extremely difficult,’’ the mental gymnast told AFP after the performance at New York’s Hall of Science.

Lemaire, who sports a beard and glasses under thickly-matted eyebrows and a furrowed brow, previously performed the feat in 77 seconds and has been working at the 13th root problem for years, repeatedly eroding his best time.

``I use an artificial intelligence system which I use on my own brain instead of on a computer,’’ he explained, matter-of-factly.

``Personally, I believe most people can do it but I have also a high-speed mind. My brain works sometimes very, very fast.’’

Pressing his point, he adds: ``Sometimes when I do multiplication my brain works so fast that I need to take medication.’’

``I think somebody without a very fast brain can also do this kind of multiplication but this is maybe easier for me because my brain is faster.’’

Lemaire says he first realised he had a knack for numbers when he was around 11 years old, but perhaps surprisingly he did not do well in maths at school.

``I was not top of the class. I was an autodidact, mostly by books,’’ he says.

He practices regularly and jogs every day, doesn’t drink coffee or alcohol and avoids foods that are high in sugar or fat – to help him think faster.

I use a process to improve my skills, to behave like a computer. When I do something wrong, I learn from that,'' he says. It’s like running a program in my head … to control my brain,’’ he says.

But he says he takes days off once in a while and listens to music to relax, although he is unable to name a band or a genre he actually likes.

It is important not to work too much,'' he says. I can’t do multiplication all day because otherwise my heart or my brain would fail. Too much training, thinking too fast could be bad for my health.’’

He talks repeatedly and intensely about controlling my brain'' and running a program on my brain,’’ adding that part of his technique is to shut out ``useless information.’’

He has earned the nickname the human calculator,'' but says with a rare smile he thinks the sobriquet of the human computer’’ would be more accurate.

His nearest rival, he says, is a German whom he declines to name. But he says he has no fear that any other competitive mathematicians will be able to challenge his record.

``It is too difficult for them,’’ he says, explaining that most of his rivals are only able to work out the 13th root of a 100-digit number.

He says he does not yet know what he will do when he finishes his PhD, but has been approached by banks and computer science companies keen to tap the power of his grey cells.

``Many people at the banks think my gift can be very useful,’’ he says.

Can he only do the 13th root of 200 digit numbers or are his abilities deeper? My brain works in a similar sort of fashion, although I haven’t trained the skill any where near as thoroughly as he has. I can do arithmitic calculations in my head almost instantly (ie, 4digitx2digit to 3dp+, or 5digit/2digit to 2dp+) but i’ve never really pushed the boundaries except maybe once when I taught myself how to calculate 9digitx9digit numbers in my head within 90secs. Sadly however, its a useless ‘thing to be good at’ because everyone else has a calculator these days :rolleyes: I think it must just be a gene that has random fluctuations in rare(ish) cases. Sort of like brillant spellers-but naturally its way cooler than that :cool: :smiley:

Well look at it this way… some women wil be impressed enough to err be entertained by you… I think…

Great night out. You’ll be calculating 17 digit multiples to impress her while she’ll be calculating if she’s got enough for cab fare home by herself.

yeah I somehow doubt that “Hey…they call me the human calculator. Want to watch me calculate some 200 digit numbers in my head?” is really the best pick up line.

At most, I be concerned with what Me + Her equates to.

A vertical asympote

Asymptote, actually.

i knew i had the spelling wrong. but regardless, neither asymptotes or asympotes exist.

I just looked it up on Google.

The guy is a savant. Their brain is unlike ours which allows them to do those calculations. They “apparently” see calculations as colours and shapes instead of actual numbers that we see. I remember one of them saying that they don’t have to consciously think about doing the calculations because the answer automatically comes to them. Interesting stuff… but it comes at the trade-off of lack of social abilities.

But at least we know what he’s doing. I mean, its difficult, but still we common folk know what the 13th root is. The stuff that I’m amazed at is the higher maths, like the stuff used in quantum mechanics, general relativity and theoretical physics in general.

You get to a point where hard work can only take you so far, then natural talent and ability to comprehend the equations take over.

Anyone noticing a parallel between this and athletics? Hmmm…

He might be an autistic savant having a form of synesthesia.
I have synesthesia as i also see numbers in colours (and sounds and kind of spacial movements), but that’s presicely what prevents me to do calculations! Maths and logical exercises were my nightmare at school. However, that addition of sensorial perceptions makes me able to have memory of numbers.

I was told that the possible reasons are more nervous connexions in the brain and maybe parts of the brain which are shut down.
One girl i correspond with have an extreme form of synesthesia where her perceptions are completley upside down, she can’t lace her shoes or walk by herself, but you couldn’t imagine her daily problems in life from the high quality (vocabulary, accuracy of descriptions, deep analysis on various subjetcs, etc) of her writings.

So you will be happy with Charlie’s graphs, all colour-coded. Arrggh, but what if the colours in your mind clash with the colours of the graph?! :eek: you might get strobe-lights and find yourself thrown back to the Sixties - avec Charles and his old mirrorball :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, not the right colours, and i can’t find the right colours for numbers on paper, since they are like transparent and mixed with a sound and movement. Difficult to find on material world! Still, i enjoy a lot the graphs colours and not the only one :wink:

You think you have a flashback to the 60s issue now! Imagine if I go back and add a different colour for every number in them. You’d really have a bad trip! What do you think PJ??

Charlie, please make sure that Clapton and the Bluesbreakers are playing to add sound to the mirrorball’s colours, that would avoid the bad trip!!

Yup- that was recorded in 1965 I think.

All we got here is John Mayall’s Blues from Laurel Canyon but I think we can rustle up a little Vanilla Fudge. After that it’s straight across to Quicksilver Messenger Service and Charlie’s mirrorball is sure to trigger an epileptic fit on that one.:eek:

I hate to say it, but the mathematics behind the things you’ve listed is actually relatively “simple,” compared to some of the stuff people are doing. Have a look at some of the pdfs in for a confusing time.