Computer Science

Essay by 26677College, UndergraduateB+, April 2009

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IntroductionComputer Science, the study of the ways computers are utilized both to collect and to disseminate information. The discipline of computing has been characterized by the Association for Computing Machinery as "the systematic study of algorithmic processes-their theory, analysis, design, efficiency, implementation, and application-that describe and transform information." The association goes on to say, "In Europe the discipline of computing is called informatics, a name that directs attention to the central role of information. The fundamental question underlying all of computing is, What can be efficiently automated?" Some computer scientists summarize the above characterization by saying that the field studies digital computers and the phenomena surrounding them. (It would be closer to the truth, however, to say that computers surround human concerns.) Given the widespread and increasing uses of computers in so many aspects of life, this paradigm has already become too narrow. The discipline of computer science has broadened to include not only computers but also the ways in which they are used.

The story of the development of computer science is intimately interwoven with the story of how human beings work and socialize together. The computing profession comprises the people and the institutions that are devoted to taking care of people's concerns regarding information processing and the coordination of work through worldwide communication systems. The profession contains various specialties, such as computer science, software engineering, computational science, information systems, and computer-aided design.

OriginsThe roots of computing can be traced back many centuries and extend deeply into the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. Mathematics imparts analysis to the field, science im parts experimental method and modeling, and engineering imparts design.

The explicit and intricate intertwining of the ancient threads of calculation and logical symbol manipulation, together with the modern threads of electronics and electronic information codes, have given...