I'm always amazed when the exceptional mathematical skills of some autistic-savant people hit the news. My question is: can they outperform a computer in problems which we believe too hard for even a computer to solve?

Of course I haven't heard that any of them could. But I'm not sure if that's because they fundamentally can't or just no one bothered to ask them right questions.

For example if I ask:

Sir, can you tell me which two integer numbers I need to multiply to get this huge number?


Any chance they can ever come up with a correct answer?

It would be a world sensation if they could as the number above is the RSA 2048 bit SSL public key modulus of a website. Which is currently believed to be secure enough (no computers can break it in reasonable amount of time). And integer factorization is a know hard problem and the entire RSA cryptosystem depend on it.


1 Answer 1


People easily solve cognition, but number crunching isn't what the brain's optimized for. Current generation hardware easily beat any savant at numbers due to their optimization and clock speed. Look at this and this on hashing. The brain simply can't beat these things (trivial?), let alone with harder problems?


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