CS 106 Introduction to Programming and Computer Science

Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D.

Is Computer Science a science? Computer science is not a science in the same sense that biology, chemestry and physics are sciences. There is no inherent part of the universe studied by computer science. What is computer science then? Computer science is actually an engineering discipline which for historical reasons is housed in colleges of liberal arts and sciences. Like other engineering disciplines, computer science encompases both a body of knowledge (mostly mathematical) and a collection of artistic techniques. Computer Science is about creating things. Computer science is about creating systems which incorporate computers. These systems can be large main frames crunching accounts payable at an insurance company or they may be housed in tiny integrated circuits built into cellular telephones. Computer Systems are the most complex systems yet built by man. A typical game program of today may have more parts than does a Boeing 747 built in 1970. Further, like a Boeing 747, computer systems may be part of man-rated life-critical systems. In fact, recent commercial jetliners are capable of taking off, flying to their destination and landing totally under computer control.

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