Study of the theory, experimentation, and engineering that form the basis for the design and use of computersdevices that automatically process information. Computer Science Essay traces its roots to work done by English mathematician Charles Babbage, who first proposed a programmable mechanical calculator in 1837. Until the advent of electronic digital computers in the 1940s, computer science was not generally distinguished as being separate from mathematics and engineering. Since then, it has sprouted numerous branches of research that are unique to the discipline.
The Development of Computer Science
Early work in the field of computer science during the late 1940s and early 1950s focused on automating the process of making calculations for use in science and engineering.
Scientists and engineers developed theoretical models of computation that enabled them to analyze how efficient different approaches were in performing various calculations. Computer science overlapped considerably during this time with the branch of mathematics known as numerical analysis, which examines the accuracy and precision of calculations.
As the use of computers expanded between the 1950s and the 1970s, the focus of computer science broadened to include simplifying the use of computers through programming languagesartificial languages used to program computers, and operating systemscomputer programs that provide a useful interface between a computer and a user. During this time, computer scientists were also experimenting with new applications and computer designs, creating the first computer networks, and exploring relationships between computation and thought.
In the 1970s, computer chip manufacturers began to mass-produce microprocessorsthe electronic circuitry that serves as the main information processing center in a computer. This new technology revolutionized the computer industry by dramatically reducing the cost of building computers and greatly increasing theyre processing speed.
The microprocessor made possible the advent of the personal computer, which resulted in an explosion in the use of computer applications. Between the early 1970s and 1980s, computer science rapidly expanded in an effort to develop new applications for personal computers and to drive the technological advances in the computing industry. Much of the earlier research that had been done began to reach the public through personal computers, which derived most of their early software from existing concepts and systems.
Computer scientists continue to expand the frontiers of computer and information systems by pioneering the designs of more complex, reliable, and powerful computers; enabling networks of computers to efficiently exchange vast amounts of information; and seeking ways to make computers behave intelligently. As computers become an increasingly integral part of modern society, computer scientists strive to solve new problems and invent better methods of solving current problems.
The goals of computer science range from finding ways to better educate people in the use of existing computers to highly speculative research into technologies and approaches that may not be viable for decades.
Underlying all of these specific goals is the desire to better the human condition today and in the future through the improved use of information.
Theory and Experiment
Computer science is a combination of theory, engineering, and experimentation. In some cases, a computer scientist develops a theory, then engineers a combination of computer hardware and software based on that theory, and experimentally tests it. An example of such a theory-driven approach is the development of new software engineering tools that are then evaluated in actual use. In other cases, experimentation may result in new theory, such as the discovery that an artificial neural network exhibits behavior similar to neurons in the brain, leading to a new theory in neurophysiology.
It might seem that the predictable nature of computers makes experimentation unnecessary because the outcome of experiments should be known in advance.
However, when computer systems and their interactions with the natural world become sufficiently complex, unforeseen behaviors can result. Experimentation and the traditional scientific method are thus key parts of computer science.
Major Branches of Computer Science
Computer science can be divided into four main fields:
a) Software development
b) Computer architecture (hardware)
c) Human-computer interfacing (the design of the most efficient ways for humans to use computers)
d) Artificial intelligence (the attempt to make computers behave intelligently).
Software development is concerned with creating computer programs that perform efficiently. Computer architecture is concerned with developing optimal hardware for specific computational needs. The areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and human-computer interfacing often involve .