Book Review - Tamil Computing By Dr. R. Ponnusamy

I recently learned about a new book titled “Tamil Computing” by Dr. R. Ponnusamy. It sparked my own long-held desire to write a book on Malayalam Computing, which friends have encouraged me to publish. I am still not convinced that a “printed book” is a good idea to present this topic yet. Not to mention the amount of time it require for such initiatives. So, I was intrigued by this book promptly purchased a copy from amazon.

However, once I started flipping through the book, a sense of unease settled in. Most of the sentences did not make any sense and long paragraphs of text missed substance but just a fluent flow of words. I was reluctant to believe that I bought a book that is mostly an output of generative AI. So I spent time some more time to go through the book, and I am very disappointed to share that the content appears heavily reliant on generative AI and machine translation, with a disregard for reader investment.

I am providing only a few examples here. Here is a section that introduces what is a character or grapheme.

The book has so many sections that has the cliche words the gen-AI systems like ChatGPT repeats in its output.

The typesetting is poor, with low-resolution, skewed images for Tamil illustrations, inconsistent fonts (including the default Windows Tamil font and random selections), and mangled mathematical notation. A simple proofreading process could have rectified these issues.

The “About the Book” section on the back cover claims suitability for students, academics, and researchers. I strongly disagree.

There are some python code examples in the book. I am not explaining how many things went wrong in the below example.

It’s difficult to reconcile this work with the credentials of Dr. R. Ponnusamy, a professor with extensive experience and current dean of the computer science and engineering department at the Chennai Institute of Technology.

I’m not opposed to using generative AI to enhance readability, but the author should retain control and ownership of the content.

Why should I bother to read the content that the author did not want to write themself?

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