Eighth FIRST Lecture: "Indic S & T and the Computational Thinking Metaphor" by K Gopinath, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 1530 hrs


Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bengaluru 560 012



Forum for Interdisciplinary Research and Studies (FIRST)


Invites you to the Eighth FIRST Lecture on


 Indic S & T and the Computational Thinking Metaphor



K Gopinath

Department of Computer Science and Automation

Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India




on Wednesday, 30 August 2017, Lecture Hall, NIAS 3:30 PM

(Tea/Coffee – 3.00 PM)


Abstract: The Indic civilization has many innovations and deep insights to its credit, as befits a geographical expanse well endowed with natural resources to support a large and inquisitive population for the last many millennia.  Some of these ideas have influenced and diffused into other knowledge systems but there is still no clarity on the depth and extent of these. An interesting perspective that seems to have informed a good part of the Indic tradition is that of दृग्गणितैक्य drg.ganitaikya, the desirability of concordance between “observed” and the “computed” in areas of enquiry that have a predictive aspect; due to this aspect the computational tradition in astronomy in India was very pronounced. Much earlier, Vrddha Garga (pre700 BCE?) says दर्शनं गणितं चैव युगपद् योगसाधकम् |(Observation and calculation when they go together is effective).

This latter computational aspect in the Indic tradition has been argued by Prof. Roddam Narasimha as “computational positivism” and a distinguishing feature too of the Indic tradition in S&T as a whole; this is in contrast to the “Greek” geometric tradition that emphasized axioms (“obvious truths”) and proofs. Furthermore, this Indic perspective also interacts interestingly with an another perspective, that of “computational thinking”, as advocated by current computer science researchers. We give a brief outline of these ideas and illustrate them with some interesting examples of computational aspects in areas such as language, logic, mathematics and architecture in the Indic tradition.


Prof. Roddam Narasimha’s article in the Economic and Political Weekly, 2003


Presentations in the ICPR Conference, February 2017



About the Speaker: K. Gopinath is a professor at the Indian Institute of Science in the Computer Science and Automation Department since 1990. His education has been at the IIT Madras in Chennai (B Tech, 1977), University of Wisconsin, Madison (MS, 1980) and the Stanford University (PhD, 1988), both in USA. He has also worked at AMD (Sunnyvale, USA) (1980-1982), as a postdoctoral fellow (1988-1989) at Stanford University, and also briefly at Sun Microsystems Labs (1990). His research interests are primarily in the computer systems area (Operating Systems, Storage Systems, Systems Security and Systems Verification). 


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This is to remind you that NIAS has established an inter-institution Forum for Interdisciplinary Research and Studies (FIRST), with two principal aims:


1. Invite eminent scholars from various institutes and universities in and around Bengaluru to discuss recent work (their own or of others) in various disciplines that have adopted interdisciplinary approaches. These meetings are typically held once a month, usually on the afternoon of the last Friday of each month, at NIAS


2. Build up a virtual library or an electronic archive of interdisciplinary research manuscripts and publications, where it would be possible to upload relevant papers as well as download them, of course, only for academic purposes. This archive is housed on the NIAS website


A detailed note on FIRST is enclosed with this mail.


Thank you very much for your attention and warm regards,


Sisir Roy and Anindya Sinha



Wednesday, August 30, 2017