simple:Computer science zh-cn: %E8%AE%A1%E7%AE%97%E6%9C%BA%E7%A7%91%E5%AD%A6 In its most general sense, computer science (CS) is the study of computation and information processing, both in hardware and in software. In practice, computer science includes a variety of topics relating to computers, which range from the abstract analysis of algorithms to more concrete subjects like programming languages, software, and computer hardware. As a scientific discipline, it is a very different activity from computer programming and computer engineering, although the three are often confused.

Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes
- Edsger Dijkstra

Computer science is not as old as physics; it lags by a couple of hundred years. However, this does not mean that there is significantly less on the computer scientist's plate than on the physicist's: younger it may be, but it has had a far more intense upbringing!
- Richard Feynman

The Church-Turing thesis states that all known kinds of general computing devices are essentially equivalent in what they can do, although they vary in time and space efficiency. This thesis is sometimes treated as the fundamental principle of computer science. Most research in computer science has been related to von Neumann computerss or Turing machines (computers that do one small, deterministic task at a time), because they resemble most real computers in use today. Computer scientists also study other kinds of machines, some practical (like parallel and quantum machines) and some theoretical (like random and oracle machines).

Computer science studies what programs can and cannot do (computability and artificial intelligence), how programs should efficiently perform specific tasks (algorithms), how programs should store and retrieve specific kinds of information (data structures), and how programs and people should communicate with each other (user interfaces and programming languages).

Computer science has roots in electrical engineering, mathematics and linguistics. In the last third of the 20th century computer science has become recognized as a distinct discipline and has developed its own methods and terminology.

The first computer science department was founded at Purdue University in 1962. Most universities today have computer science departments.

The highest honor in computer science is the Turing Award.

Table of contents
1 Related fields
2 Major fields of importance for computer science
3 History
4 Prominent pioneers in computer science
5 See also

Related fields

Computer science is closely related to several other fields. These fields overlap considerably, though important differences exist

  • Information science is the study of data and information, including how to interpret, analyze, store, and retrieve it. Information science started as the foundation of scientific analysis of communication and databases.
  • Software engineering emphasizes analysis, design, and construction of useful software using contemporary tools and practices.
  • Information systems is the application of computing to support the operations of an organization: operating, installing, and maintaining the computers, software, and data. Management information systems is a key subfield that emphasizes financial and personnel management.

  • Computer engineering is about the analysis, design, and construction of computer hardware.
  • Information security is about the analysis and implementation of information system security (cryptography is included).

Major fields of importance for computer science

Mathematical foundations

Theoretical computer science


(see also
electrical engineering)

Computer systems organization

(see also
electrical engineering)


Data and information systems

Computing methodologies

Computer applications

Computing milieux


Prominent pioneers in computer science

See list of computer scientists for many more notables.

See also