A young mathematician living in Westchester will be one of 20 Latin American prodigies participating on SuperCerebros (“Super Brains”), a Spanish-language television program produced by National Geographic Channel.
Yusnier Viera, 31, a Cuban native, will put to test his “human calculator” abilities, competing with other smart minds in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the program is filmed.
“It’s a great honor to have been selected among the 20 brains of Latin America and particularly to be the only Cuban in the group,” Viera told El Nuevo Herald. “This is a fascinating contest that puts to test our mental talent.”
The television program is scheduled to premiere Jan. 5.
With Viera, seven Colombians, six Mexicans, three Argentines, two Uruguayans and one Peruvian will compete. Four participants will compete in each episode and the winner will receive $5,000. The winners in each of the five episodes will face each other in a grand finale for an award of $45,000.
Besides complex mental calculations, “SuperCerebros” also will show the talents of some contenders to “blindly” resolve the Rubik cube in a matter of seconds, according to the contest promotion.
Viera was born in Bejucal, a town on the outskirts of Havana, and arrived in Miami after defecting from the Cuban team at a mathematics championship in Mexico. He crossed the border to McAllen, Texas.
Initially, Viera worked as a software developer in South Florida. In 2011, he and three partners launched Spicy Math, a venture that seeks to encourage students to excel in mathematics.
“What we do is help students to love math,” Viera said. “We train groups that have the ability to be recognized domestically and abroad to be future calculators.”
Viera said he will expose on “SuperCerebros” his “Human Calendar” ability, responding in a few seconds the day of the week of any date in the past or future.
He graduated with honors from the University of Havana’s School of Computer Science. He has already won recognition for having broken two world records on calculating dates.
In the first test, he calculated 20 dates of the 21st Century in less than 20 seconds. The world record was 24.94 seconds. He broke the second world record on that same day when he calculated 42 dates between the years 1600 and 2100 in barely one minute. The previous record was 33 dates in one minute.
In 2010 his name was registered in the Guinness World Record on calendar calculations.
As part of a 2012 television program, the Discovery Channel and the University of Sussex in London performed an analysis of Viera’s brain.
“The study concluded that my talent was not innate but a result of deliberate practice,” Viera said. “This proves the theory that a human being is not different in terms of his knowledge but of his hard work and dedication.”
Viera asks the South Florida community to follow him on “SuperCerebros,” which will be launched internationally.
“I’m very excited to be competing in an event that will be the talk of all Latin America,” he said.