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SME 430: History of Mathematics 1/19/10

Russian Multiplication
Think about you could only add and multiply or divide by 2. Russian
peasants developed a clever method of multiplying any two numbers.

For example to multiply 18 by 24, they followed this method:


• in two columns written down the numbers
• divide the left hand column by 2 ignoring the remainders and
multiply the right hand column by 2
• repeat this process until number 1 is reached in the left hand
column
• Delete any row which has an even number in the left hand column
• Add up the numbers remaining in the right hand column

18 x 24

18 24
9 48
4 96
2 192
1 384

18 x 24 = 48 + 384 = 432

Question:
Does the order matter?
Do you get the same answer if you switch the numbers?

Source: http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mepres/book7/y7s6act.pdf
SME 430: History of Mathematics 1/19/10

Problems:

Use Russian multiplication to find

1. 13 x 42
2. 54 x 98
3. 45 x 126
4. 85 x 17

Think about:

Analyze the method to see why it works.

(Hint: Write 18 x 24 = (9x2) x 24

= 9x48

= (8+1)x48

=8x48 +1x48

= 4x2x48 + 48

= 4 x 96 + 48

etc

Source: http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mepres/book7/y7s6act.pdf