NadiShasthra is a form of astrology where u are supposed to give the either the hand impresssion or the thumb impression (i am not sure which some even take the kundali) . The astrologer matches it with a huge database of palm leaves and comes up with a matching palm leaves and reads out, and somehow most of the things he says about ur past is correct (although most of the things he says about your future doesnt happen. lets assume it does. it is more fun that way). Ok so hoe does he manage to generate such information about you in such a small time.
Before that where did those palm leaves come from.. One of the explaination is that those were assignment submissions from disciples of a particular guru who was an expert in these fields.. Apparantly the students were asked to predict the future births / incarnations of some of the people in their time. (And looks like they did a pretty good job).
So how does pattern matching come in here:
One simple idea (courtesy Bhargav) is to get the data base from the pundit and put it online.. People submit their hand prints in jpg format, we use pattern matching techniques to get the appropriate palm leaf and spell out their future. (All for a few ofcourse).
The other more intersting idea is that if there is a real correlation between the human hand and the human destiny, it should be more logical to use a computer and mathematics to study it rather than just the human brain. All one would have to prove or disprove astri=ology is get the hand prints of a million people, cluster it based on their hand prints and see if some criterias like the area of work, ...(basically whatever an astrologer tries to predict) falls in the same clusters more often than random. A simple chi square test would be enough.
Also if the hand print does not throw up anything we can look at the thumb print, stars, planets whatever.
But i guess doing so would also lead to massive job losses in India So in the larger interest of the country i guess i will stay away from this area.