About eight months ago, Aasis Vinayak, 20, a hacker and prodiguous programmer, realized he had a memory problem. Of the multitude of computer languages that he was learning, he could not remember much of the codes or what programmers call syntax. He could as well be learning German and Japanese at the same time and understanding neither.
To set his nagging memory problem right, he decided to develop a computer language devoid of any syntax; a language that would be a programmer’s dream. Today, barely months later, he is developing ‘V’, a computer language that understands — unlike any other in the world — commands in plain, everyday English. He has also joined a premier league of only a dozen programmers across the world to have written an entire computer language on their own.
V, Aasis hopes, will change the way companies across the world work. “Instead of spending money on hundreds of programmers, they can just ask ‘V’ to do the task,” Aasis told The Times of India.
J. Murali, former director of the Thiruvananthapuram-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), a government research institute, has had a preview of the programme. “The concept is innovative, but the programme is in the nascent stage. The idea is original, especially from a student of physics, but a lot more work needs to be done,” he said.
Aasis, who is doing his B Sc Physics at Loyola College, has a lifetime’s achievements behind him. He has invented a search engine — a Google for any language, he has the blueprint for an anti-theft device for electronic gadgets and has published papers in many reputed scientific journals.
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam has been among those who has recognized his talent and has met him for, what Aasis modestly calls, a discussion. At 20, Aasis is already a fellow at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, where he wrote a bot (open source software) to fetch a page from wikipedia.
G Nagarjuna, chairperson, Free Software Foundation of India and director, ‘Gnowlege’ lab at TIFR, with whom Aasis worked closely, in an email interview said, “Aasis’s understanding of web engineering and programming are special. Considering that he is a student of physics, if it were not due to his passion to program, he would not have gotten here. His creative interests and interest to learn and do on his own will make him a good engineer.”
During his interview with TOI, Aasis demonstrated how V works. After opening a window on his laptop, he asked the programme in English to find out whether a number is prime and instructed it to get back to him if it is. The English words Aasis chose to command his computer were simple and Aasis explained exactly what happens inside his laptop’s brain.
Being an open source person himself, Aasis has found many small groups of people willing to selflessly work with him. “I have some friends who are into artificial intelligence. They helped me too. Behind what you see is a lot of coding I did along with them,” said Aasis.
Sleeping for no more than three hours a day, Aasis worked on US timings in collabration with his US friends to develop V (The language is already available in Malayalam and Tamil, besides English).
“I want to return what I owe to society. Don’t pay attention to me. Instead, look at what I am doing,” Aasis said. He wants to make his programme better by making it work in as many languages as possible and is on the look out for volunteers. You can call him at 93807 42418. V is available at http://www.vlanguage.org.
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