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Hindu Books > History > Ancient India's Contribution to World Culture > Mathematics

Geometry And Algorithm

But even in the area of Geometry, Indian mathematicians had their contribution. There was an area of mathematical applications called Rekha Ganita (Line Computation). The Sulva Sutras, which literally mean 'Rule of the Chord' give geometrical methods of constructing altars and temples. The temples layouts were called Mandalas. Some of important works in this field are by Apastamba, Baudhayana, Hiranyakesin, Manava, Varaha and Vadhula.

The Buddhist Pagodas borrowed their plan of construction from the geometric grid of the Mandala used for constructing temples in India (A majestic Pagoda at Bangkok)

The Arab scholar Mohammed Ibn Jubair al Battani studied Indian use of ratios from Retha Ganita and introduced them among the Arab scholars like Al Khwarazmi, Washiya and Abe Mashar who incorporated the newly acquired knowledge of algebra and other branches of Indian mathema into the Arab ideas about the subject.

The chief exponent of this Indo-Arab amalgam in mathematics was Al Khwarazmi who evolved a technique of calculation from Indian sources. This technique which was named by westerners after Al Khwarazmi as "Algorismi" gave us the modern term Algorithm, which is used in computer software.

Algorithm which is a process of calculation based on decimal notation numbers. This method was deduced by Khwarazmi from the Indian techniques geometric computation which he had st ied. Al Khwarazmi's work was translated into Latin under the title "De Numero Indico" which means 'of Indian Numerals' thus betraying its Indian origin. This translation which belong to the 12th century A.D credited to one Adelard who lived in a town called Bath in Britian.

Thus Al Khwarazmi and Adelard could looked upon as pioneers who transmit Indian numerals to the west. Incidents according to the Oxford Dictionary, word algorithm which we use in the English language is a corruption of the name Khwarazmi which literally means '(a person) from Khawarizm', which was the name of the town where Al Khwarazmi lived. To day unfortunately', the original Indian texts that Al Khwarazmi studied arelost to us, only the translations are avail able .

The Arabs borrowed so much from India the field of mathematics that even the subject of mathematics in Arabic came to known as Hindsa which means 'from India and a mathematician or engineer in Arabic is called Muhandis which means 'an expert in Mathematics'. The word Muhandis possibly derived from the Arabic term mathematics viz. Hindsa.

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Algebra- The Other Mathematics ?
Geometry And Algorithm
The Concept of Zero
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