While the average human being would still be reaching for their calculator, Bhanu Prakash Age 20, already has the answer. That’s 63,470,861,269, and Bhanu, known in India as the world’s fastest human calculator, takes just 26 seconds to figure it out in his mind.
According to the Limca Book of Records, the Indian equivalent of Guinness World Records, Bhanu’s mind processes numbers at an average speed of 11 per second, about 11 times faster than a normal brain. Bhanu says he can perform such complex calculations at breakneck speed through “structured practice.”

I’m doing multiplication of 8,763 times eight, he says. I’ll probably multiply 8,000 times eight which is 64,000, 700 times eight which is 5,600, 60 times eight which is 480, three times eight is 24. And I add all these. But this requires the human brain to remember all that. The methods that I use are very similar to the general methods, but certain things, basically the optimization of the brain. I optimize these methods and do them better than before each time.

In the end, whatever I call my methods, sometimes it just happens. There is a certain process, obviously, but since I’ve trained my brain, it just happens all time. In 2020, Bhanu from Hyderabad in the South Indian state of Telangana became the first Asian to win gold in the World Mental Counting Championships at the Mental Sports Olympiad (MSO) in London. He is also the first Asian winner in the 23-year history of the event.

In his debut, in the competition, Bhanu beat 30 opponents from 14 countries to take gold, His speed is so extraordinary that the judges had him solve more calculations to confirm his accuracy. But don’t call it a prodigy. Not, because I find the word ‘prodigy’ a bit worrisome as it just doesn’t capture efforts and experience, it’s just a state that comes out of nowhere, says Bhanu, emphasizing that his extraordinary mathematical ability doesn’t come easily. Everything could have been very different.