The first abacus is thought to have been invented by the Sumerians between 2700 and 2300 BC. However, earlier cultures may have developed the abacus first.
Some experts believe that the abacus was invented independently in different cultures. This is supported by the existence of abacus-like tools in the New World, where inhabitants would have had no contact with the Sumerians. The abacus is still used throughout the world, and those who practice extensively are often able to perform a wide range of calculations faster than people with access to calculators. Researchers believe that practice with an abacus can help people develop better mental math skills.