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Informatics Forum
Informatics Forum, completed in 2008. It houses over 130 researchers of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics.

Informatics is the study of natural and engineered computational systems[1][2]. The central notion is the transformation of information, whether by organisms or artifacts.[1][3] According to ACM - Informatics Europe joint report "Informatics Education in Europe: Are We All in The Same Boat?", informatics is European equivalent for both computer science and computing as a discipline[4]. In the United States, however, informatics is linked with computing in context of another domain - most often associated with applications computer technology in healthcare[5][6], where the term informatics first appeared in the US. On the other hand, in United Kingdom and Japan the term informatics is associated with study the natural and neural computation[1][7]. In continental Europe, universities usually translate informatics as computer science, while polytechnics as computer science & engineering[8][9].

Cultural gap[edit]

European informatics is widely understood computer science, not only as a theory but also as a practice of computing, including engineering of computer systems and its applications. Its central notion is information processing, including phenomena of natural computing.[10] Therefore, informatics research can be found in computer science, cognitive science and systems biology, among others. Acknowledged sciences are grouped into three great domains: physical, life, and social. Informatics is referred a fourth great domain, a computational new kind of science.[11]

Common United States - Europe Translations[4][12]
United States Germany Russia France Italy English transcription
Computing, Computer Science, Scientific Computing Informatik информатика (latinized: informatika) Informatique Informatica Informatics
Theoretical Computer Science Theoretische Informatik компьютерная наука Informatique théorique Informatica teorica Theoretical Informatics
Computer Engineering Technische Informatik компьютерная инженерия Ingénierie or génie informatique Ingegneria informatica Technical Informatics
Cognitive science, Neurocomputing Neuroinformatik нейроинформатика Neuro-informatique Neuroinformatica Neuroinformatics
Computational Biology Bioinformatik биоинформатика Bio-informatique Bioinformatica Bioinformatics
Computer simulation
Computer simulation, one of the main computing methodologies.[13]

Professional organisations[edit]

The Rasberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi, a single-board computer developed for promotion of teaching basic computer science.
Konrad Zuse
German informatician Konrad Zuse, inventor of world's first programmable computer.[14][15][16]

Research fields[edit]

Informaticians around the world contribute to a wide variety of topics across classical academic disciplines - from theoretical computer science to describing complex computational processes.

Computer Science. Informatics

Computer scientists (informaticians) study computational processes and systems. ACM classification distinguishes the following main areas of computer science (alphabetic order):[17][18][19]

Cognitive Science. Neuroinformatics and Cognitive Informatics

Informatics as a study of information processing is not limited to artificial systems.[12] Cognitive scientists (neuroinformaticians) study mind, intelligence and behavior, with a focus on how nervous systems represent, process, and transform information.[20]

Hardware and Software Engineering. Technical and Engineering Informatics

Computer hardware engineers and software engineers (who can be collectively called informatic engineers) create computer-based systems for a variety of purposes.

Differential evolution
Differential evolution optimizing the 2D Ackley function.

Notable journals and conferences[edit]

Academic schools and departments[edit]


In Europe

In 1956, the German informatician Karl Steinbuch coined the word Informatik by publishing a paper called Informatik: Automatische Informationsverarbeitung ("Informatics: Automatic Information Processing").[55] The morphology—informat-ion + -ics—uses "the accepted form for names of sciences, as conics, mathematics, linguistics, optics, or matters of practice, as economics, politics, tactics",[56] and so, linguistically, the meaning extends easily to encompass both the science of information and the practice of information processing. The German word Informatik is usually translated to English as[57] computer science by universites or computer science & engineering by polytechnics (german equivalents for institutes of technology). Depending on the context, informatics is also translated into computing, scientific computing or information and computer technology. The French term informatique was coined in 1962 by Philippe Dreyfus.[58] In the same month was also proposed independently by Walter F. Bauer (1924–2015) and associates who co-founded software company Informatics Inc. The term for the new discipline quickly spread throughout Europe, but it did not catch on in the United States. Over the years, many different definitions of informatics have been developed, most of them claim that the essence of informatics is one of these concepts: information processing, algorithms, compuation, information, algorithmic processes, computational processes or computational systems.[59][1]

In United States

The earliest uses of the term informatics in the United States was during the 1950s with the beginning of computer use in healthcare.[60] Early practitioners interested in the field soon learned that there were no formal education programs, and none emerged until the late 1960s. Professional development, therefore, played a significant role in the development of health informatics[60]. According to Imhoff et al., 2001, healthcare informatics is not only the application of computer technology to problems in healthcare, but covers all aspects of generation, handling, communication, storage, retrieval, management, analysis, discovery, and synthesis of data information and knowledge in the entire scope of healthcare. Furthermore, they stated that the primary goal of health informatics can be distinguished as follows: To provide solutions for problems related to data, information, and knowledge processing. To study general principles of processing data information and knowledge in medicine and healthcare.[61][62] The term health informatics quickly spread throughout the United States in various forms such as nursing informatics, public health informatics or medical informatics. Analogous terms were later introduced for use of computers in various fields, such as business informatics, forest informatics, legal informatics etc. However, these fields have more to do with digital literacy than with real informatics. Their name is probably the result of a lack of knowledge of the true meaning of informatics. Later in the United States, next absurd term such as computational informatics were developed, while all informatics is computational by its nature.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "What is Informatics? University of Edinburgh" (PDF).
  2. ^ "INFORMATICS | Bedeutung im Cambridge Englisch Wörterbuch". (in German).
  3. ^ "What is Informatics? - Definition from Techopedia".
  4. ^ a b "Are We All In The Same Boat? ACM & Informatics Europe" (PDF).
  5. ^ "What is Informatics? USF Health". Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  6. ^ "Informatics Major". Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  7. ^ "Forschungszentrum Jülich - Cognitive Neuroinformatics". Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  8. ^ "Computer Science and Computer Engineering | Hochschule Osnabrück". Retrieved 2020-08-31.
  9. ^ "Informatik – Technische Informatik (B.Sc.) | Hochschule Osnabrück". Retrieved 2020-08-31.
  10. ^ Denning, Peter J. "Is Computer Science Science?" (PDF).
  11. ^ Peter J Denning, Paul S Rosenbloom. "Computing: The Fourth Great Domain of Science | September 2009 | Communications of the ACM".
  12. ^ a b Wang, Yingxu (2013). "Basic theories for neuroinformatics and neurocomputing". 2013 IEEE 12th International Conference on Cognitive Informatics and Cognitive Computing: 3–4. doi:10.1109/ICCI-CC.2013.6622217. ISBN 978-1-4799-0783-0. S2CID 12488667.
  13. ^ "Computing Classification System".
  14. ^ PDF Raúl Rojas: Konrad Zuse’s Legacy: The Architecture of the Z1 and Z3
  15. ^ [1] [2] Raúl Rojas: How to make Zuse's Z3 a universal computer.
  16. ^ RTD Net: "From various sides Konrad Zuse was awarded with the title "Inventor of the computer"."
  17. ^ " e-Print archive".
  18. ^ "Informatics as a Fundamental Discipline for the 21st Century". Informatics Europe. 2019.
  19. ^ Denning, Peter J. Rosenbloom, Paul (2009). The Profession of IT Computing: The Fourth Great Domain of Science. Association of Computing Machinery. OCLC 981466101.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ "Ask the Cognitive Scientist". American Federation of Teachers.
  21. ^ "International Journal of Cognitive Informatics and Natural Intelligence (IJCINI)".
  22. ^ IEEE CS (1983). IEEE computer society conference on computer vision and pattern recognition, CVPR. 1983 conf., Washington, D.C. Proceedings: Computer vision and pattern recognition. New York, N.Y. ISBN 978-0-8186-0053-1. OCLC 472099962.
  23. ^ "Brain Informatics". Brain Informatics.
  24. ^ "Automatic Control and Computer Sciences". Springer.
  25. ^ "Autonomous Robots". Springer.
  26. ^ "Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence". Springer.
  27. ^ "Journal of Signal Processing Systems". Springer.
  28. ^ "Alvy Ray Smith synapse FOCS Cover".
  29. ^ "Neural Computing and Applications". Springer.
  30. ^ "Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems". Springer.
  31. ^ "Annual Meetings of the Association for Computational Linguistics | ACL Member Portal".
  32. ^ "Journal of Scientific Computing".
  33. ^ "Systems and Control Letters".
  34. ^ "Simulation & Gaming". SAGE Journals.
  35. ^ Journal of Network and Computer Applications.
  36. ^ "ACM CCS 2020 - November 9-13, 2020".
  37. ^ "Journal of Complexity | by Elsevier".
  38. ^ "Home | MIT Schwarzman College of Computing | Massachusetts Institute of Technology".
  39. ^ Federrath, Prof Dr Hannes. "Forschung". (in German).
  40. ^ "Welcome to Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering | Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering".
  41. ^ "Department of Computer Science and Engineering".
  42. ^ "Research". The University of Edinburgh.
  43. ^ "Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford".
  44. ^ "Department of Computer Science and Engineering - School of Engineering - Santa Clara University".
  45. ^ "Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan".
  46. ^ "Computer Science & Engineering". University of Nevada, Reno.
  47. ^ "Computer Science | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences".
  48. ^ "Institute of Neuroinformatics at University of Zurich".
  49. ^ "Department of Computer Science".
  50. ^ "Department of Computing". Imperial College London.
  51. ^ "About the Institute | Institut für Neuroinformatik".
  52. ^ "Research @ CS | Stanford Computer Science".
  53. ^ "EECS at UC Berkeley". EECS at UC Berkeley.
  54. ^ "Computer Science and Software Engineering | University of Canterbury". The University of Canterbury.
  55. ^ "Karl Steinbuch Eulogy – Bernard Widrow, Reiner Hartenstein, Robert Hecht-Nielsen" (PDF).
  56. ^ Oxford English Dictionary 1989
  57. ^ CTKlein. "Best word for "computer science"". German Language Stack Exchange. Stack Exchange Inc. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  58. ^ Dreyfus, Phillipe. L’informatique. Gestion, Paris, June 1962, pp. 240–41
  59. ^ Wegner, Peter. "Research paradigms in Computer Science, Brown University" (PDF).
  60. ^ a b Nelson, Ramona; Staggers, Nancy (8 December 2016). Health Informatics: An Interprofessional Approach. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-323-40225-5.
  61. ^ Imhoff, M., Webb. A,.&Goldschmidt, A., (2001). Health Informatics. Intensive Care Med, 27: 179-186. doi:10.1007//s001340000747.
  62. ^ Nelson, R. & Staggers, N. Health Informatics: An Interprofessional Approach. St. Louis: Mosby, 2013. Print. (p.4,7)

Further reading[edit]