The legend goes something like this:

Gauss’s teacher wanted to occupy his students by making them add large sets of numbers and told everyone in class to find the sum of 1+2+3+ …. + 100.

And Gauss, who was a young child (age ~ 10) quickly found the sum by just pairing up numbers:

Using this ingenious method used by Gauss allows us to write a generic formula for the sum of first n positive integers as follows: