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UoH teaches Sanskrit with the help of computer tools


Hyderabad: The University of Hyderabad (UoH) has launched an innovative, online interdisciplinary programme OE102: Samsaadhanii Praveshika which aims at teaching Sanskrit with the help of computer tools.

The Department of Sanskrit Studies has been engaged in the study of Indian Grammatical Theories with a computational perspective. Prof Amba Kulkarni, course coordinator, says “On the one hand we are looking at how to leverage computer technology to overcome the language barrier, how to reduce the time to learn a new language, and on the other hand we are also exploring the IGT for building these computational tools”.

The department collaborates with a computer scientist turned computational linguist, Prof Gérard Huet, from the prestigious research institute Inria, from France. The collaboration between these two groups has resulted in a joint system that can analyse any Sanskrit text. Prof Gérard Huet highlighted the computational rigour in the compact sūtras of Panini’s grammar that helped him design his segmenter efficiently.

This course will be taught by a team of four — Dr Arjuna from Manipal University, Dr Pavankumar Satuluri from Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyalaya, Kochi, Prof. Gérard Huet from Inria, Paris, and Prof. Amba Kulkarni from University of Hyderabad. A total of 250 people have registered for this course including students from abroad, India and UoH. The students have varied backgrounds from Arts and Humanities to Engineering and Medicine; they range from 20 to 80 years of age, geographically from Fiji to California covering the whole world.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. B J Rao considered the launch of this course as the celebration where Panini is being rediscovered through modern computational tools. According to him this course would be trendsetter to understand how language analysis, rigour of computation and scientific methods can be utilized for understanding thoughts as well as also understanding the construction of ideas through languages.

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