Sunday, June 27, 2010

What is computer science?

"I wonder how Super Smash Bros! was created..."
"Is my computer safe from viruses?"
"How can I use my phone to listen to music?"
The universal answer to this is just one word - computers. From creating popular games to keeping government papers secure, computers help us live busy yet entertaining lifestyle. And the mehn and women who have made this "digital age" possible- we call them "computer scientists" and "programmers." And there is a discipline that studies how computers helps us - ironically enough, it is called computer science.
Computer science, according to wikipedia, is a study of information processing - how to retrieve, store and present information. In layman's terms, computer science is the study of how we can use computers to help us in our daily lives, and aspects of how information is processed so that a computer user can interact with a computer. A computer is essentially a "giant calculator" that acts upon a user's request, does what it does (given to it by programmers( and tells the user what it has done (via output devices such as screens and printers). For instance, we can use computers to post blogs, or use cell phones (a special type of computer) to send and receive phone calls.
Computer science is a huge container for various research topics and applications. Some people study how we can make sure that what we download is really safe for us (computer security), while others study better and more useful ways of doing tasks more quickly (algorithms). Still others study how we can correctly identify human genes and work with life sciences (bioinfomatics) and yet others work on how to make simple yet powerful way of giving computers instructions (programming languages). Yet all of these topics have one thing in common: we can tell computers, or silicon chips, exactly what we want it to do, and that's the basis for learning programming.
In my case, I'm interested in current trends in cell phones, PDA's and other products (including blindness computers, or notetakers) and how blind people use computers via special software and hardware (embedded systems and usability, respectively).

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