Science?

Is computer Science really a Science?

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12 Replies - 2963 Views - Last Post: 13 January 2008 - 01:08 PM

#1 corliss  Icon User is offline

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Science?

Posted 06 January 2008 - 08:58 PM

Hi all,
With the advent of the new computer science forum I felt compelled to ask a question about Comp Sci.
I have just finished my Diploma in Computer Information Technology and I am now pursuing a degree in Computer Science. I started looking on the web to find out what Comp. Sci. "really is" and if it is an accepted member of the science community.
The question: is computer science a science?

The studys that I have done at College and the courses at University are very similar, so much so that I have transferd all of my two year college diploma to the university. My rational behind writing this is to find
a) the distinction between college and university at a scolastic,
and
B) Is a computer to computer science mearly what a telescope is to astronomy.

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#2 snoj  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:04 PM

Hmmm, personally I see Computer Science as a wonderful stew of other sciences with electrical and mathematics being the main ingredients.
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#3 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:28 PM

Of course it is a science.

1) You come up with hypothesis for solving a problem. (Does 2 + 2 = 4?)
2) You formulate tests to test your hypothesis. (Write a function with expected inputs and outputs... test cases)
3) You observe the results (output of a function is compared to the expected results)
4) You formulate a conclusion based on the results. (Yes it appears to be 4)

It has many things that are included in science including...

1) Mathematics
2) Quantum Physics (in the way of how electrons can be used to represent state... every heard of quantum computing?)
3) Logic (I have even studied logic in classes and it has helped me become a better problem solver)
4) Imagination and creativity... Some of the greatest scientific break throughs
have been those scientists who had a little imagination (aka atomic bomb).

I have a degree in science and I use many of the theories, equations, topics and ideas of science when programming and I know they use them extensively in networking... just look at the study of degradation in electronic signals as they pass through wires and the study of light... leading to the advancement of fiber optics etc.

It is no doubt a science but like snoj pointed out, it is probably a very cool science because it uses so many of the other sciences. I have certainly been able to extrapolate many scientific theories through the use of studies in computer science. It is a mix of many sciences.

:)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 06 January 2008 - 09:30 PM

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#4 nirvanarupali  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 07 January 2008 - 12:36 AM

To know “computer science” if it is really a science, first of all you have to know first the definition of “science”. What is a science anyway?

Science (Latin scientia, from scire, “to know”), term used in its broadest meaning to denote systematized knowledge in any field, but applied usually to the organization of objectively verifiable sense experience. The pursuit of knowledge in this context is known as pure science, to distinguish it from applied science, which is the search for practical uses of scientific knowledge, and from technology, through which applications are realized.

Therefore, science is a body of knowledge in a strict sense, now how to qualify “computer science” is as science?

It is a science because computer science is the study of computers, including their design, operation, and use in processing information. Computer science combines both theoretical and practical aspects of engineering, electronics, information theory, mathematics, logic, and human behavior. Aspects of computer science range from programming and computer architecture to artificial intelligence and robotics.

With this definition, it is implied that computer science is a body of knowledge in the field of computers.
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#5 corliss  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:53 PM

Ofcourse I agree with all of you in that Computer Science is a Science, but I have encounterd people who think of Comp. Sci as some "make work project" or illegally using the word computer and science.
Carry on.....we need more voices.
p.s. should comp sci be called dataology or should astronomy be called telescope science?
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#6 William_Wilson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:00 PM

Computer Science is a broad scope, like Chemistry or Biology.

A further question would be is Software Engineering a real Eng discipline?
The standing right now is that since you can't hold software it isn't eng worthy, but without it the hardware engineers really have nothing.
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#7 nirvanarupali  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 08 January 2008 - 01:25 AM

Good point, I am also thinking that.
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#8 Programmist  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:55 PM

On a related note, I heard a professor in my graduate program call CS grads "computer scientists." SE grads are also often called "software engineers." I'd say that the degree to which a CS grad is a scientist depends heavily on the quality of the program, which varies widely from school to school, and the specialization of the graduate.
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#9 nirvanarupali  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 10 January 2008 - 08:18 PM

Quote

which varies widely from school to school, and the specialization of the graduate.


I add, from person to person...
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#10 scalt  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 10 January 2008 - 09:09 PM

I don't know what its like elsewhere, but at my university (Massey University, NZ) the SE degree is seen as 'superior' to the standard Comp Sci degrees.

SE is 4 years incl compulsory honours (if you meet the grade)
SE forces students to take 'Tech' maths papers (with the rest of the Engineering students), widely regarded as the hardest math papers available at 2nd year level (Comp Sci students can't take them, you have be doing engineering).
SE includes a compulsory summer work placement programme which involves writing a detailed report on the organisation you worked for as well as what your role was (for 3 summers).

But then again superior depends on what your goal is. Engineering seems very geared at working for companies developing solutions, not so much research/other scientific disciplines so it really depends on what you want to do

Note: I'm not biased, I'm just doing Electronics (BE of course :P)

This post has been edited by scalt: 11 January 2008 - 02:35 AM

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#11 Programmist  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 11 January 2008 - 03:40 AM

View Postscalt, on 10 Jan, 2008 - 10:09 PM, said:

I don't know what its like elsewhere, but at my university (Massey University, NZ) the SE degree is seen as 'superior' to the standard Comp Sci degrees.


I can't speak for all American universities, but it's not that way at mine. In fact, I'd say that, if anything, the CS degree is more highly regarded for its rigor than the SE degree at my school. The SE degree is very similar to the CS degree. Both contain lots of math and theory classes in the first two years, but they diverge in many of the upper-division classes (3rd year +) as SE focuses on the software development process and management and CS continues to focus on more theory and other more traditional CS topics like advanced discrete math, Automata theory, digital logic/computer design, algorithm design/analysis, artificial intelligence, etc.
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#12 scalt  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 13 January 2008 - 12:27 PM

I'm just about to begin 3rd year now, and of the few software papers I am doing, I think most of them are geared towards looking at the software development life-cycle and CASE tools as well as project management, so the same seems to apply here. That said though, all of the higher level topics you mentioned are available/cumpolsory (depending on each one) for SE students at the 4th year level except digital logic/computer design (in engineering that's an electronics branch paper from memory).
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#13 1lacca  Icon User is offline

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Re: Science?

Posted 13 January 2008 - 01:08 PM

Interesting. We didn't have both at our university (Budapest), and although I think we were between the two - SE with stronger math (and even more math available for those who liked it) - even it's translation was in doubt for a while and changed between CS and SE continously. The rival uni had only something called programming mathematician, and that is CS with insane amount of math (both gave masters degrees). I think they are valued around the same, but they excel naturally in different fields.
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