The 1st Professional Human Computer
Johann Dase, born in Hamburg, Germany in 1840, was of low intellect except for
his extraordinary calculating powers. He could multiply two, 20-digit numbers in
his head in 6 minutes. He could look at a field of sheep for only a couple seconds,
then tell the exact count. His powers were attributed to a true photographic memory.
Beginning at 16 years old, he was enlisted by famous mathematician Carl Friedrich
Gauss to generate the most precise tables of the day for logarithms, hyperbolic
and trigonometric functions. These calculations would otherwise take years to make
and require an entire staff of mathematicians. Since Johann was paid for his services,
this possibly constituted the world's first instance of rented computer time.