Computing Science in Ancient India

  • Subhash Kak
Reference work entry

India's romance with numbers can be seen in the mention of large numbers up to 10 19 in the Black Yajurveda. The sources for mathematical computing in India in the early phase are the Vedic books including the Brāhmana texts, the Śulbasūtras (texts on altar geometry), Jyotisha (astronomy), the Chandahśāstra (Pingala's book on prosody), Pānini's grammar, the Nātya Śāstra (Bharata Muni's text on music, drama, and dance), and nonmathematical texts such as the Mahābhārata and diverse śāstras (scientific and philosophical texts).

The Indian approach to the world was classificatory and computational. In astronomy, an attempt was made to reconcile the motions of the sun, the moon, and the planets that required periodic corrections. In grammar, the most economical rules for different constructions were sought. Not only the sign for zero, but also the binary number system, infinity and its operations, the ideas of metarules, algebraic transformation, recursion, hashing, mathematical logic,...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Subhash Kak

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