[Note from Pumpkin Person, aug 26, 2017: The following is a guest article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pumpkin Person. Out of respect for the author, please try to keep all comments on topic. I understand conversations naturally evolve, but at least try to start on-topic]
I have discovered a reasonably rare source revealing the arithmetic abilities of a man whose intellect arguably constitutes the greatest of the 20th century, a man whose genius oversaw the creation of the computer architecture that forms the basis of all modern computers, a man whose great vision extended to the creation of game theory, quantum formalization, the Von Neumann self-replicating space probe and beyond. It’s not an exaggeration to say he laid the groundwork for the present and the future of mankind.
Subsequent to his achievements yarns inevitably follow about the mind behind the achievements, about his capabilities. Stories abound of arithmetic abilities that border on the supernatural, therefore I act in the capacity of Ghostbuster in the course of this article. Inspired in part by PP’s transmission of a theory by a Promethean, and in part by my own speculations on the matter I present the true arithmetical capabilities of a man at the very heighth of intellectual power and the implications for that on processing power, speed and consequently broader intelligence.
The revealing anecdote itself is at the very bottom of this fascinating account of the Princeton mathematical community by Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner.
His capabilities act as a yardstick for processing power for all those that stand between the average and himself, a measuring stick for what it means to have mental powers; I hope my contribution will allow for PP to develop his vision of processing power and intelligence and from there perhaps extract a method for a more precise estimation of intelligence from this highly g-loaded ability.
In the words of Norman Mcrae in his superlative biography of John Von Neumann: “The story conflicts with the notion that Johnny was a mental calculator without peer. The uninformed view has always held that mathematicians are the very devils at multiplying and dividing. Some are, some are not, and there are always idiot savants here and there who are better at it than even the very best mathematicians.”