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History of the Hindu—Arabic numeral system A decimal place system has been traced back to c. Before that epoch, the Brahmi numeral system was in use; that system did not encompass the concept of the place-value of numbers.
Instead, Brahmi numerals included additional symbols for the tens, as well as separate symbols for hundred and thousand. The Indian place-system numerals spread to neighboring Persiawhere they were picked up by the conquering Arabs. InSeverus Sebokht - a Nestorian bishop living in Syria wrote: I will omit all discussion of the science of the Indians I wish only to say that this computation is done by means of nine signs.
If those who believe that because they speak Greek they have arrived at the limits of science would read the Indian texts they would be convinced even if a little late in the day that there are others who know something of value. But it is in Khmer numerals of modern Cambodia where the first extant material evidence of zero as a numerical figuredating its use back to the seventh century, is found.
In academic circles they[ which? The significance of the development of the positional number system is probably best described by the French mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace — who wrote: It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by the means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position, as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit, but its very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions, and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest minds produced by antiquity.
Tobias Dantzig  had this to say in Number: But what was the net achievement in the field of reckoning, the earliest art practiced by man?
An inflexible numeration so crude as to make progress well nigh impossible, and a calculating device so limited in scope that even elementary calculations called for the services of an expert. When viewed in this light, the achievements of the unknown Hindu, who some time in the first centuries of our era discovered the principle of position assumes the importance of a world event.I speak presently 6 languages: French(Native), English, German, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
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