Abacus in the world

Mathematics 8 May Abacus in the World Introduction An abacus is a mechanical computational device that was invented centuries ago for the purposes of computation. In itself, the abacus is not a counting device, but rather a mechanical aid to counting (Wells 4). This is because it is only used to keep track of subtractions, sums and carries among others, while the user of the abacus performs mental calculations (Kaye and Castillo 466). Keoke and Porterfield define it as a “ portable calculating device using a frame with rods that are strung with beads” (1). Corbin on the other hand defines it as “ a mechanical frame containing several rods on which are mounted wooden beads which can be slid manually into different positions and combinations to represent numbers” (188). Materials used to make early abacuses in different regions varied. For example, among the Maya and Aztec people of Mesoamerica, maize kernels threaded on strings were used instead of beads, while the Inca people who lived in Peru centuries ago had an abacus that was made up of a “ tray with compartments that were arranged in rows in which counters were moved in order to make calculations” (Keoke and Porterfield 1).
History of the Abacus
The abacus originated from the Middle East thousands of years ago. Jain asserts that its evolution took place in 3000 B. C. (7). Darling points out that “ the word appears to come from the Hebrew ẚbẚq (dust) or the Phoenician abak (sand) via the Greek abax, which refers to a small tray covered with sand to hold the pebbles steady” (3). Over the centuries, there have been different types of abacuses. The first type was called suanpan and was used in China in 1300 (Barnes-Svarney and Svarney 349). There is no agreement regarding who invented this type of abacus but it is that believed it was the Chinese, Japanese or Koreans. Barnes-Svarney and Svarney affirm that “ although merchants used this type of abacus for standard addition and subtraction operations, it could also be used to determine square and cube roots of numbers” (349). The other type of abacus was the soroban or the Japanese abacus. Apart from the fact that it lacked a bead in the upper and lower deck of every column, it was very similar to the Chinese abacus. The Roman abacus also had one bead lacking from the upper and lower deck of every column making it very similar to the Japanese abacus. According to Barnes-Svarney and Svarney, “ the Russians also have their own version of an abacus; it uses ten beads on each wire, and a single deck” (349). To separate the two wires, a wire with fewer beads is placed between them.
The Rule of the Abacus in Different Nations