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.