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Why CS Students Are Drawn to Sanskrit

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Sanskrit inscriptions on temple walls in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Credit: Getty Images

Libbie Mills, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, noticed something interesting in her introductory Sanskrit class this fall: six of the 40 enrolled students were computer science majors.

Paul Thomas says he took the course because of its connection to coding. "Sanskrit is a very computational language," says Thomas, an undergraduate at St. Michael's College. "It's a lot of syntax, which is the structure of programming itself. Classical Sanskrit is an engineered language."

The lingual connection between Sanskrit and computer science has long been the subject of interest. In "Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence," published in 1985, NASA scientist Rick Briggs argued that the 3,500-year-old language was the best candidate for programming artificial intelligence technology namely because of its adherence to rigid grammatical rules.

Mills says the language is "orderly" and "creative in an organized way. It's good coding."

From India Education Diary
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