What Is Computer Science?


Last Update: 22 January 2010

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

As we have seen, there are several different, but related, answers to the question "What is computer science?".

A more complete answer is going to depend on answers to other questions, including (but not limited to):

Here is an outline summary of some of the answers.

Answers differ on:

  1. Category (or "genus"):

    1. science
    2. (systematic) "study"
    3. engineering

  2. Qualification ("kind" of "science" or "study") (a.k.a. "differentia"):

      1. mathematical
      2. empirical

      1. natural
      2. artificial

  3. Subject matter:

    1. computers (+ related phenomena)

      • ∴ empirical, artificial?

      1. algorithms (+ related phenomena)
      2. or: procedures (+ related phenomena)

      • ∴ natural?, mathematical?, experimental?

    2. information (+ related phenomena)

      • ∴ natural?, mathematical?, experimental?

We'll discuss some, but not all, of these topics later in the semester.

Copyright © 2004–2010 by William J. Rapaport (rapaport@buffalo.edu)