C by Example (Cambridge Computer Science Texts)

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The term is used mainly in the Scandinavian countries. An alternative term, also proposed by Naur, is data science ; this is now used for a multi-disciplinary field of data analysis, including statistics and databases. Also, in the early days of computing, a number of terms for the practitioners of the field of computing were suggested in the Communications of the ACM — turingineer , turologist , flow-charts-man , applied meta-mathematician , and applied epistemologist.

A folkloric quotation, often attributed to—but almost certainly not first formulated by— Edsger Dijkstra , states that "computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes. For example, the study of computer hardware is usually considered part of computer engineering , while the study of commercial computer systems and their deployment is often called information technology or information systems.

However, there has been much cross-fertilization of ideas between the various computer-related disciplines. Computer science research also often intersects other disciplines, such as philosophy, cognitive science , linguistics , mathematics , physics , biology , statistics , and logic. Computer science is considered by some to have a much closer relationship with mathematics than many scientific disciplines, with some observers saying that computing is a mathematical science.

The relationship between Computer Science and Software Engineering is a contentious issue, which is further muddied by disputes over what the term "Software Engineering" means, and how computer science is defined. The academic, political, and funding aspects of computer science tend to depend on whether a department formed with a mathematical emphasis or with an engineering emphasis.

Computer science departments with a mathematics emphasis and with a numerical orientation consider alignment with computational science. Both types of departments tend to make efforts to bridge the field educationally if not across all research. A number of computer scientists have argued for the distinction of three separate paradigms in computer science.

Peter Wegner argued that those paradigms are science, technology, and mathematics. Eden described them as the "rationalist paradigm" which treats computer science as a branch of mathematics, which is prevalent in theoretical computer science, and mainly employs deductive reasoning , the "technocratic paradigm" which might be found in engineering approaches, most prominently in software engineering , and the "scientific paradigm" which approaches computer-related artifacts from the empirical perspective of natural sciences , identifiable in some branches of artificial intelligence.

As a discipline, computer science spans a range of topics from theoretical studies of algorithms and the limits of computation to the practical issues of implementing computing systems in hardware and software. In addition to these four areas, CSAB also identifies fields such as software engineering, artificial intelligence, computer networking and communication, database systems, parallel computation, distributed computation, human—computer interaction, computer graphics, operating systems, and numerical and symbolic computation as being important areas of computer science.

Theoretical Computer Science is mathematical and abstract in spirit, but it derives its motivation from practical and everyday computation.


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Its aim is to understand the nature of computation and, as a consequence of this understanding, provide more efficient methodologies. All studies related to mathematical, logic and formal concepts and methods could be considered as theoretical computer science, provided that the motivation is clearly drawn from the field of computing.

Data structures and algorithms are the study of commonly used computational methods and their computational efficiency. According to Peter Denning , the fundamental question underlying computer science is, "What can be efficiently automated? In an effort to answer the first question, computability theory examines which computational problems are solvable on various theoretical models of computation.

The second question is addressed by computational complexity theory , which studies the time and space costs associated with different approaches to solving a multitude of computational problems. Information theory is related to the quantification of information.

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This was developed by Claude Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and communicating data. Codes are used for data compression , cryptography , error detection and correction , and more recently also for network coding.

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Codes are studied for the purpose of designing efficient and reliable data transmission methods. Programming language theory is a branch of computer science that deals with the design, implementation, analysis, characterization, and classification of programming languages and their individual features. It falls within the discipline of computer science, both depending on and affecting mathematics , software engineering, and linguistics. It is an active research area, with numerous dedicated academic journals.

Formal methods are a particular kind of mathematically based technique for the specification , development and verification of software and hardware systems. They form an important theoretical underpinning for software engineering, especially where safety or security is involved. Formal methods are a useful adjunct to software testing since they help avoid errors and can also give a framework for testing. For industrial use, tool support is required. However, the high cost of using formal methods means that they are usually only used in the development of high-integrity and life-critical systems , where safety or security is of utmost importance.

Formal methods are best described as the application of a fairly broad variety of theoretical computer science fundamentals, in particular logic calculi, formal languages , automata theory , and program semantics , but also type systems and algebraic data types to problems in software and hardware specification and verification. Computer architecture, or digital computer organization, is the conceptual design and fundamental operational structure of a computer system. It focuses largely on the way by which the central processing unit performs internally and accesses addresses in memory.

Computer performance analysis is the study of work flowing through computers with the general goals of improving throughput , controlling response time , using resources efficiently, eliminating bottlenecks , and predicting performance under anticipated peak loads. Concurrency is a property of systems in which several computations are executing simultaneously, and potentially interacting with each other.

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Computers within that distributed system have their own private memory, and information can be exchanged to achieve common goals. Computer security is a branch of computer technology with an objective of protecting information from unauthorized access, disruption, or modification while maintaining the accessibility and usability of the system for its intended users. Cryptography is the practice and study of hiding encryption and therefore deciphering decryption information.

Modern cryptography is largely related to computer science, for many encryption and decryption algorithms are based on their computational complexity.


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A database is intended to organize, store, and retrieve large amounts of data easily. Digital databases are managed using database management systems to store, create, maintain, and search data, through database models and query languages. Computer graphics is the study of digital visual contents and involves the synthesis and manipulation of image data. The study is connected to many other fields in computer science, including computer vision , image processing , and computational geometry , and is heavily applied in the fields of special effects and video games.

Research that develops theories, principles, and guidelines for user interface designers, so they can create satisfactory user experiences with desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. Scientific computing or computational science is the field of study concerned with constructing mathematical models and quantitative analysis techniques and using computers to analyze and solve scientific problems.

In practical use, it is typically the application of computer simulation and other forms of computation to problems in various scientific disciplines.

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Artificial intelligence AI aims to or is required to synthesize goal-orientated processes such as problem-solving, decision-making, environmental adaptation, learning, and communication found in humans and animals. From its origins in cybernetics and in the Dartmouth Conference , artificial intelligence research has been necessarily cross-disciplinary, drawing on areas of expertise such as applied mathematics , symbolic logic , semiotics , electrical engineering , philosophy of mind , neurophysiology , and social intelligence.

AI is associated in the popular mind with robotic development , but the main field of practical application has been as an embedded component in areas of software development , which require computational understanding. The starting point in the late s was Alan Turing 's question "Can computers think? But the automation of evaluative and predictive tasks has been increasingly successful as a substitute for human monitoring and intervention in domains of computer application involving complex real-world data.

Software engineering is the study of designing, implementing, and modifying software in order to ensure it is of high quality, affordable, maintainable, and fast to build. It is a systematic approach to software design, involving the application of engineering practices to software. Software engineering deals with the organizing and analyzing of software—it doesn't just deal with the creation or manufacture of new software, but its internal maintenance and arrangement. Programming languages can be used to accomplish different tasks in different ways.

Common programming paradigms include:. Many languages offer support for multiple paradigms, making the distinction more a matter of style than of technical capabilities. Conferences are important events for computer science research.

C by Example (Cambridge Computer Science Texts)

During these conferences, researchers from the public and private sectors present their recent work and meet. Unlike in most other academic fields, in computer science, the prestige of conference papers is greater than that of journal publications. Computer Science , known by its near synonyms, Computing , Computer Studies , Information Technology IT and Information and Computing Technology ICT , has been taught in UK schools since the days of batch processing , mark sensitive cards and paper tape but usually to a select few students.

In September it became an entitlement for all 7,, pupils over the age of 4. In the US , with 14, school districts deciding the curriculum, provision was fractured. Israel, New Zealand, and South Korea have included computer science in their national secondary education curricula, [86] [87] and several others are following. In many countries, there is a significant gender gap in computer science education.

In , only 20 percent of computer science degrees in the United States were awarded to women. In , women earned half of the computer science degrees in Malaysia. Computer science — Wikipedia book. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the American corporation, see Computer Sciences Corporation. Study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation. Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of computation and practical techniques for their application.

History Outline Glossary Category. Main article: History of computer science. See also: History of computing and History of informatics. Main article: Philosophy of computer science. Further information: Outline of computer science. Main article: Theoretical computer science.

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Main articles: Data structure and Algorithm. Main article: Theory of computation. Main articles: Information theory and Coding theory. Main article: Programming language theory. Main article: Formal methods. Main articles: Computer architecture and Computer engineering. Main articles: Computer performance and Benchmark computing. Main articles: Concurrency computer science and Distributed computing. Main article: Computer network. Main articles: Computer security and Cryptography. Main article: Database. This article is missing information about a structured set of data held in a computer, especially one that is accessible in various ways.

Please expand the article to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page. September Main article: Computer graphics computer science.