Panini’s Language Machine is decoded by an Indian student at Cambridge

An Indian Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge has finally discovered the solution to a grammatical conundrum posed by Panini that has baffled Sanskrit scholars since the fifth century BC.


  • According to many sources, Panini lived in ancient India during the sixth and fourth centuries BCE. He was a respected scholar and Sanskrit grammarian.
  • Panini has been referred to as “the father of linguistics” and the “first descriptive linguist” since European academics discovered and published his work in the nineteenth century.
  • Foundational linguists like Ferdinand de Saussure and Leonard Bloomfield were influenced by Panini’s grammar.

Major literary works

  • The Astadhyayi, the founding text of the Vyakarna branch of the Vedanga, is one of Panini’s best-known works. It is a sutra-style treatise on Sanskrit grammar that contains verses or rules on linguistics, syntax, and semantics in “eight chapters.”
  • His writings drew various bhashya (comments), the most well-known of which is Patanjali’s Mahabhashya.
  • Scholars of other Indian religions, such as Buddhism, were affected by and commented on his theories.

Recent breakthrough

  • Panini had a brilliant mind, and he created the most advanced language processing system in human history.
  • He has successfully decrypted a 2,500-year-old algorithm, making it feasible to utilise Panini’s so-called “language machine” with accuracy for the first time.
  • With the use of Panini’s language generator, it is now possible to “derive” any Sanskrit word and create millions of grammatically sound terms.
  • One of history’s greatest intellectual accomplishments, according to many, is this.

What this development means?

  • The most important implication of the latest finding is that Panini’s grammar can now be run by an algorithm.
  • We might be able to teach computers this grammar.
  • Rule-based approaches were abandoned by computer scientists working on Natural Language Processing (NLP) more than 50 years ago.
  • NLP is a subfield of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Teaching computers how to connect the speaker’s intention with Panini’s rule-based language would thus be a significant turning point in the development of human-machine interaction.
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