The Chinese Abacus

Who invented the Chinese Abacus?

Chinese abacus is a simple device for performing mathematical calculations. Known as the Fifth Invention of Ancient China, the abacus can perform addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. It can also be used to obtain square roots and cubic roots. The Chinese abacus, saunpan (算盘) were created by a famous mathematician Cheng Dawei of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). August 8 was established as the "abacus festival" in commemoration of him.

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Cheng Dawei

Cheng Dawei (成大为) is was worshiped as "The God of Arithemtics" and "The great master of saunpan."

Count the Beads

Each bead in the upper deck has a value of 5. Each bead in the lower deck has a value of 1. Beads are considered counted, when moved towards the beam that separates the two decks.

After 5 beads are counted in the lower deck, the result is "carried" to the upper deck; after both beads in the upper deck are counted, the result (10) is then carried to the left-most adjacent column.

How it inspired what we have today?

Computers truly came into their own as great inventions in the last two decades of the 20th century. But their history stretches back more than 2500 years to the abacus: a simple calculator made from beads and wires, which is still used in some parts of the world today. The difference between an ancient abacus and a modern computer seems vast, but the principle—making repeated calculations more quickly than the human brain—is exactly the same


There are two types of abacus. The Binary and the most known, Abacus. The Binary has to do with computers, while the common abacus has concentrates on regular math. The abacus, although is stated to have an origin from China, has been regenerated in many countries. Japan, Russia, and Greece, are just among the few.

There are millions of different inventions in the world today, and many of them come from foreign countries (China), and without them, we would not be where we are now. Europeans have stolen, traded, and enslaved many people and things from other countries, so it is hard to be precise. The Abacus is a basis for what math has evolved into in this age. Modern math would not be possible. Although it is hard to pinpoint exactly when and how it came to Europe (though we believe by trade), we know the truth.

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