It is a complicated question to determine exactly when the Chinese started calculating with positional representation, but it was definitely before 400 BC.He preferred it to Hero's method of successive approximation because, once computed, a digit doesn't change, and the square roots of perfect squares, such as 7485696, terminate immediately as 2736.For numbers with a fractional part, such as 546.934, they used negative powers of 60 instead of negative powers of 10 for the fractional part 0.934.His contemporary, the Syriac bishop Severus Sebokht (650 AD) said, "Indians possess a method of calculation that no word can praise enough.Their rational system of mathematics, or of their method of calculation.

In the early the Indian mathematician Aryabhata incorporated an existing version of this system in his work, and experimented with different notations.In the 7th century, Brahmagupta established the use of 0 as a separate number and determined the results for multiplication, division, addition and subtraction of zero and all other numbers, except for the result of division by 0.