I was a little surprised to learn that Sanskrit fits the bill to become a computer language. Apparently, Forbes in 1987 claimed to have reported (or may have researched and produced a report) that Sanskrit is very suitable to use in computer (as a programming language?) because of its perfect syntax. Interestingly, Sanskrit has very little room for error as well. Well, I am not a linguistics or syntax expert, but this amazes me. How could a language so very perfect in grammatical sense become so obsolete? That too, a language originated and well used in a huge country (with huge population) went on to become obsolete! Well, the more quoted reasoning is that, the language and learning itself was restricted to the elite class in the earlier Indian society. Whatever be the past, there is scope for redemption now, then!
Now, I chanced upon to see another piece of report on Sanskrit and its usability on computer. This time, it is from none other than NASA. This report seconds, Forbes claim. Nasa’s study was mainly from the feasibility of using Sanskrit in artificial intelligence (AI). According to a Nasa researcher [1,2],
“In ancient India the intention to discover truth was so consuming, that in the process, they discovered perhaps the most perfect tool for fulfilling such a search that the world has ever known — the Sanskrit language. There is at least one language, Sanskrit, which for the duration of almost 1000 years was a living spoken language with a considerable literature of its own. Besides works of literary value, there was a long philosophical and grammatical tradition that has continued to exist with undiminished vigor until the present century. Among the accomplishments of the grammarians can be reckoned a method for paraphrasing Sanskrit in a manner that is identical not only in essence but in form with current work in Artificial Intelligence. This article demonstrates that a natural language can serve as an artificial language also, and that much work in AI has been reinventing a wheel millennia old.
The discovery is of monumental significance. It is mind-boggling to consider that we have available to us a language which has been spoken for 4-7000 years that appears to be in every respect a perfect language designed for enlightened communication. But the most stunning aspect of the discovery is this: NASA the most advanced research center in the world for cutting edge technology has discovered that Sanskrit, the world’s oldest spiritual language is the only unambiguous spoken language on the planet. Considering Sanskrit’s status as a spiritual language, a further implication of this discovery is that the age old dichotomy between religion and science is an entirely unjustified one. It is also relevant to note that in the last decade physicists have begun to comment on the striking similarities between their own discoveries and the discoveries made thousands of years ago in India which went on to form the basis of most Eastern religions.
OK, then, what makes a spoken language suitable as a programming language. Does it mean that a language so perfect in grammar make it as a perfect candidate in computer parlance. In loose term, this make sense, since the syntax and semantic description can be defined a priori. After all, computer is a dummy box! But the truth could be a little deeper. Anyway, I cant wait to understand a little bit of those rationale behind the suitability of a good computer language.