Friday, May 29, 2009

Science and Theory

Science and Theory:

Computer science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation, and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems. It is frequently described as the systematic study of algorithmic processes that describe and transform information; the fundamental question underlying computer science is, "What can be (efficiently) automated? Computer science has many sub-fields; some, such as computer graphics, emphasize the computation of specific results, while others, such as computational complexity theory, study the properties of computational problems. Still others focus on the challenges in implementing computations. For example, programming language theory studies approaches to describing computations, while computer programming applies specific programming languages to solve specific computational problems, and human-computer interaction focuses on the challenges in making computers and computations useful, usable, and universally accessible to people.

The general public sometimes confuses computer science with vocational areas that deal with computers , or think that it relates to their own experience of computers, which typically involves activities such as gaming, web-browsing, and word-processing. However, the focus of computer science is more on understanding the properties of the programs used to implement software such as games and web-browsers, and using that understanding to create new programs or improve existing ones.

Theory of computation is the branch of computer science and mathematics that deals with whether and how efficiently problems can be solved on a model of computation, using an algorithm. The field is divided into two major branches: computability theory and complexity theory, but both branches deal with formal models of computation.

In order to perform a rigorous study of computation, computer scientists work with a mathematical abstraction of computers called a model of computation. There are several models in use, but the most commonly examined is the Turing machine. A Turing machine can be thought of as a desktop PC with a potentially infinite memory capacity, though it can only access this memory in small discrete chunks. Computer scientists study the Turing machine because it is simple to formulate, can be analyzed and used to prove results, and because it represents what many consider the most powerful possible "reasonable" model of computation. It might seem that the potentially infinite memory capacity is an unrealizable attribute, but any decidable problem solved by a Turing machine will always require only a finite amount of memory. So in principle, any problem that can be solved by a Turing machine can be solved by a computer that has a bounded amount of memory.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Computing is usually defined as the activity of using and developing computer technology, computer hardware and software. It is the computer-specific part of information technology. Computer science is the study and the science of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems.

Computing Curricula 2005defined computing:

“In a general way, we can define computing to mean any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computers. Thus, computing includes designing and building hardware and software systems for a wide range of purposes; processing, structuring, and managing various kinds of information; doing scientific studies using computers; making computer systems behave intelligently; creating and using communications and entertainment media; finding and gathering information relevant to any particular purpose, and so on. The list is virtually endless, and the possibilities are vast”


The term computing has sometimes been narrowly defined, as in a 1989.

The discipline of computing is the systematic study of algorithmic processes that describe and transform information: their theory, analysis, design, efficiency, implementation, and application.

Computing Curricula 2005 also recognizes that the meaning of computing depends on the context:

Computing also has other meanings that are more specific, based on the context in which the term is used. For example, an information systems specialist will view computing somewhat differently from a software engineer. Regardless of the context, doing computing well can be complicated and difficult. Because society needs people to do computing well, we must think of computing not only as a profession but also as a discipline.

The term computing is also synonymous with counting and calculating. In earlier times it was used in reference to mechanical computing machines.

A computer is an electronic device that performs certain arithmetic and logical operations without any errors.

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