Computation, in the sense of computing numbers, has existed since ancient times. In a papyrus written around 1650 B.C., the scribe Ahmes described to Egyptians how to multiply by doubles, halves, and additions according to a method known long before his writing. We begin with a modern version of this method, as an unconventional introduction to our work. In Ahmes’s papyrus the product factors are two positive integers, say a,b.
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