Talk:Computer science/Archive 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

history of computer science

A new article, since history of computing didn't cover the right topic. I've written tons of content there already, but it's definitely not finished... since it ends with Turing right now ;-) Anyway, the material here on academics needs to be added to that, and then a summary for here compiled from that article, or whatever. That's my suggestion anyway. Sbwoodside 07:12, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Could we merge the "history of computer science" section here out to that article, or at least shrink it? The section in this article is a bit long for a mere summary, I think. --bmills 15:49, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree. The problem here is that the history of computer science] is not finished yet, so we can't summarize it. —Ruud 15:53, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
On second thought, most of the "history" section here seems to have more to do with the history of computing hardware, which has arguably less to do with modern CS (except that it's taught in high school CS sometimes). What if we just add links to both somewhere? --bmills 15:55, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
The Evolutionary section, I wrote based on sources about the thesis. Do consider the emphasis of the section and not that it includes statement to help the reader understand some terminology. — Dzonatas 12:24, 20 January 2006 (UTC)


I inserted the opener below, so we may make some comments about it more easily.

I have a more POV version that I'll set aside; I agree to this version as more neutral to the points various wikipedians made. — Dzonatas
* wrote: Computer science, an academic discipline (abbreviated CS or compsci), is a body of knowledge generally about the theory of computation, computer hardware, software, and its computations.
This one is okay. I believe it could be expanded into 2 or three sentences to develop a more rounded opener. — Dzonatas
  • I think that the subdisciplines should appear in order of importance. Algorithms is more important in my view, that languages or operating systems. Also, I don't understand what in use by the computer means. Sbwoodside 05:32, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure of how you don't understand what in use by the computer means. I can make many guesses, but I would like a clue to what you do understand of it. I used the University of California, Davis, pages as a source. An editor didn't like "formal mathematical tools required to use the computer in solving complex tasks" [1]. — Dzonatas 16:49, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I dont think there is no such thing as mathematics in use by the computer, or is they?--Powo 14:21, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Back when computers were people, the people had to know how to apply math. The used math to work through their computations. It applies the same way as a electronic computer. The electronic computer uses math, as it follows a set of instructions to perform calculations. How do you use math? — Dzonatas 14:54, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Back when computers where people??? This sounds pretty much like arguments of Mr. Ballard... Could you and him be the same person? Anyway, computers we are talking about now are not people, and mathematics are not just simple arithmetics. Thus, computers do not do maths. At least, if they do it is in very special cases. This statement in the opener relies on a understanding of computers in an archaic sens and on a wrong understanding of what mathematics are. E.g., whene a computer uses clever techniques to compute the product of two numbers in less than , it doese not "use mathematics", it uses clever arithmetic algorithms. I think it is very unprecise to say that this is "mathematics in use by the computer". This statement is bad, out of the opener it should go. Out of the article in fact! No?--Powo 18:18, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I responded on your talk page, Powo. — Dzonatas 19:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
It seems you have written the sentence in such a haste that it is hardly uderstandable. Before I take more time giving you explanations which you hardly take into consideration, could you please spend some time rewritting it. Thanks. Until then, I will assume my experise as both a PhD computer scientist and MSc mathematematician justifies taking my point of view on a combined subject on mathematics and CS as more credible than yours , and I will remove the part about mathematics which seems absurd to me. Best regards. --Powo 20:40, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm sure your mastery gives you bold confidence that you are more of an expert than others. That is still no grounds to avoid the question on your page. I rewrote it a couple of times before I saved it, actually. It is not the first time I have seen you avoid my questions. You and others have asked a lot of questions of me. I have helped students learn, and boy oh boy have I gotten some hard questions to answer. I am usually told that I have lots of patience. It makes it very difficult to communicate when you and others point out assumed characteristics about me, like "more expertise than you" or "poor english," rather than just stick to the debate. At least those that I talk with I try to understand. If they avoid questions, I can't understand them. Being able to ask questions and get replies in due response is normal conversation. To tell me that you don't think I am credible or that I'm "hardly understandable" is just not normal conversation. I don't flaunt my degree of computer science, but perhaps I should. Let me give a brief reason why. I learned at the age of 5 how to read technical manuals and how to program computers. I taught myself, at the age of 5, in two days on how to fluently program in BASIC, and I didn't even own a computer. When I did, I quickly moved onto assembly with hardware manual in hand. By the time I was 8, I already programmed many little programs, some games, some utilities, and a BBS. Somewhere around age of 10, people noticed that I used the computer but they all told me the same similar thing you tell me, that I have no expertise (maybe, do you think, cause of my age then). What you say is not new. It doesn't matter what I knew or what I could do -- all that mattered to them is if I had a degree in my hand. Eventually I went to college, and I found out what really meant more than a degree -- the ability to communicate. I used to be an advocate for a pure on-line education system, where students never have to leave their homes to go sit in class and learn. On-line education can not seem to replace the communication that happens within a classroom. Obviously, I already knew how to program when I took my first "how to program" class, but I learned how to "talk" about "how to program" in the class with peers. I never told anybody that I already knew how to program, but it got to that point where upon every assignment everybody asked, "how long did it take you to write that?" I just told the truth. I already learned my lesson, like at the age of 10, when I talked about computers that I seemed like "a know it all," so maybe I should have said "2 weeks" since assignments were due every other week, and others still where at the keys up to the last minute due. Instead I told the truth, I replied "less than an hour." They finally believed me when we sat in lab together. Today, when I meet someone new, I just lie and tell them I don't know anything about computers -- which puts an immediate end to any kind of "know it all" accusation before it even starts. Consider the amount of times I've dropped an English class just to retake it to do it better, I guess you can say I try to get it right when I dropped it for anything less than an "A." Powo, you tell me I should question myself. Well... hmmmm okay.. you can have your "aspects of computer science" instead of "in use by the computer." — Dzonatas 23:18, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
  • You say: I taught myself, at the age of 5, in two days on how to fluently program in BASIC, and I didn't even own a computer
  • I say: Mythomania
--Powo 00:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm sure we all want to read about who's the biggest computer scientist in the room. Why don't you argue about that on your talk pages. Meanwhile, this article isn't going to write itself. Sbwoodside 00:58, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Ok. So, now you call me a lier. I'll be sure to treat every statement you make, as you have done to me. I never started this "I can't understand you" even with anything that you have written was at times hard to read. I still tried to read it and didn't complain. I take back what I said above. — Dzonatas 05:42, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Your Ph.D. and MS have no creditential weight here. You'll need to follow the rules like everybody else with no original research. Your expertise doesn't doesn't mean you can get around the rule. Find a source for your claim. Even Richard Stallman has to follow the same rules on his page. — Dzonatas 05:59, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I completely agree with this remark of Sbwoodside--Powo 13:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
The list of examples sounds too redundant at this point. Perhaps, we could breifly state how CS leads or has led to such topics. — Dzonatas
  • I am dubituous about the assertion that the disciplines enumerated as fundamentals are fundamentals. This is similar to the previous remark of Sbwoodside: algorithms seem much more fundamental than OS.--Powo 13:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
This is another list of examples, but something stated about careers was better than none stated. How much should we include about these careers? Is such content on the careers more appropriate in another article by its title? — Dzonatas

I humbly ask for a consensus with commentary here. The suggestions and comments given above may actually guide us for significant article-body content. — Dzonatas 03:31, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Some constructive comments:
  • Computer science has less to do with computer hardware than astronomy with telescopes. The computer science curriculum at my university (in the Netherlands) only has one course on hardware. And even that treats it from a software perspective. For example, we studied the effect of CPU caches on algorithms, but not how CPU caches are constructed hardware wise. What you refereing to is computer engineering.
  • Please, don't make that assumption so fast. I understand the part of hardware that is computer engineering as regards to electronics and material production. There is the other part that is all within the realm of CS under computability. Circuit design, which is considered hardware, is a subject taught under CS, but it doesn't involve any electronic knowledge. A study of circuit material production techniques is not CS. Circuit design is a heavy study of basic logic components. Other than simulators, it doesn't involve the subjects of software. This is just one example. — Dzonatas
  • I agree with Dzonatas that some hardware approaches are part of CS, but it seems to me that the essence of R. Koot's remark is true: computer hardware is a marginal subject of CS.--Powo 13:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Koot used Dijkstra's remark, but inserted "hardware," which changed the whole scope. To compare a computer with a telescope can be made analogous as they relate to their science, but to compare hardware doesn't flow the same. — Dzonatas 15:38, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I think we should drop the second sentance, as operating systems are not such a 'hot topic' anymore. The third sentence is adequate, but can be expanded a bit.
  • I don't think the careers belong in the introduction.
Drop OSs -- instead, what if we could point out transitional fundamentals between modern careers and academia, which would be hot topics. What I'm after is "what do people do with CS" besides just study it. — Dzonatas
  • That's an interesting idea: what carrers do CS trained students embraced? I reacon in the large majority of cases the answer is software engineer. But why instead of dropping OSs? Both!--Powo 13:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
  • The introduction should mention a bitt about the history, how computer science originated from mathematics, took on more engineering aspects and eventualy spawned new fields such as software engineering, artificial intelligence and information science (and in that proces returned a bit to it's mathematical roots).
R. Koot 04:01, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Nice. Show how CS has raisen to its current status: a science with as much on its plate as physics!--Powo 13:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree with R. Koot on his point about about careers. I would not include history in the first paragraph summary.
Also I still think it is a more useful use of time at this point to add content to the article as opposed to dickering with the summary. Sbwoodside 05:32, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Okay -- careers are not as important, as the transitional fundamentals I noted above, that lead to those careers. I agree that history should be minimized in the opener. To even state that "it originates from math..." just opens up a can of endless worms; such statements needs to be explained first before stated. Hence, give something any reader can agree with first. — Dzonatas 11:34, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
The main point about the mention of the history is so that we can refer to software engineering without, purists complaining that it's not really computer science (e.g. computer scientist inventing formal methods, software engineers using them). I believe ehey should be mentioned in the introduction, but just saying that computer science would not be as informative. Also I think the introduction paragraph should be at least two paragraphs. —R. Koot 15:58, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Also, I think it would be best to mention careers and academic curriculum realted things in an "academic discipline" section. —R. Koot 16:03, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

To be practical (if that's possible), now that I understand what in use by the computer means, I think that it's a problematic phrase for the summary it will be confusing to the average non-CS reader. It could be used later (with explanation) but in the summary I think it's hard to understand for average people how the computer is using mathematics, since they think of it as a more or less dumb machine. It seems to make more sense to say that the computer scientist is using mathematics. Sbwoodside 00:58, 13 December 2005 (UTC)


Powo and Dzonatas: you might want to have a look at the Wikipedia:Three-revert rule. I've listed Computer science at Wikipedia:Requests_for_page_protection#Computer_science because of the edit war that seems to be going on here. Sorry, but it seems necessary, because the history is getting pretty polluted. I'll just repeat again that it would be far more useful to add content to the article rather than quibbling over the summary at this point, given how lean the article is. Sbwoodside 22:23, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Carreers and demographics

The statistics given are very interesting. Nice work. I would like to make the following (hopefully constructive) remarks:

  • The statistics are not so much about computer scientists, nor even about people who received a training as a computer scientist before doing another job. Could we find statistics about what carreer computer scientists embrasse? (Obviously, only one in fifth computer programmer received a basic training as a computer scientist).
  • These statistics are for the USA. What about other places? (They could be quite different, since e.g. a lot more people have a BS in the states than in Europe).--Powo 21:31, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Another remark/question: is the profession of web developper a profession computer scientists turn to? It seems to me this is more of an adminiastritive job that typically a librarian, administrative employee, secretary, etc... would do part-time besides his normal job, or in the case its a full time job, a self-taught web-developpers or people having followed a few months training (MS trash web develloper trash course or whatsoever), but not computer scientists, no? Maybe I dont understand well what a web developper is though...--Powo 21:46, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I think what you refer to is a web-administrator? An admin does, like you said "administrative" jobs, a developer certainly does more than that. --Johnnyw 03:25, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for showing me the light!--Powo 09:52, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
"Web-admins" are also called "webmasters." — Dzonatas 17:16, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Ehh, why not? I have a supposedly "real" CS degree (from University of Waterloo) and I do some web development. I mess around with AxKit and also now with MediaWiki among other things. There's levels. Sbwoodside 22:39, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I added a couple of other common jobs for CS grads that I think are different than the ones already there.


Please attempt dispute resolution if you haven't already. And please, no labeling of others edits as "vandalism". --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 22:31, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Page is unprotected per request. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 08:45, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

There is a dispute resolution request filed: Wikipedia:Mediation_Cabal/Cases/14 12 2005 Down to Earth Computer Science.

Removal of Career section

I move that we completely remove the career section (Computer programmers, database administrators, web developers, etc). I'm not sure why this topic was included in the first place.

If it's to point potential and current computer science students to career opporunities, then we might as well include technical support into the list, since that's where many CS grads end up.

Or is it because people working in the listed careers are somehow involved in the science of computers? Certainly nobody is trying to say that the guy who picked up "HTML for Dummies" and has a job designing websites could be considered a computer scientist? jonovision 07:39, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Not everbody who is involved to a degree with computer science is a computer scientist, so we should not make the assertion that the article covers only the scope of computer scientist since it is about computer science. I have found evident that the scope of computer science is much larger and not entirely the same region as the scope of computer scientists. I mean, we assume that everything about computer science is what a computer scientist does. We know that doesn't even hold true for a scientist as compared to science. It is more like philosophy based techniques that are emphasized over boundaries of a belief system since every scientist has a diverse basis for their particular science. It is not easy for a computer scientist to hold title without a graduate degree, but there are lots of people who have worked and added to computer science that aren't academically computer scientist. Academic circles do not always recognize such additions to computer science.

The career section was not just for an audience of potential students, but I did not intend to leave such an audience out. The key feature is the demographics abstract. That is an encyclopediac feature, not just a computer science feature. We could be more detailed about the different position and list every possibility, but that would not be demographic detail. I suggest that we switch the two titles and section text "demographics" and "careers," if that presents the purpose more. If we want more detail, the section can link to other articles.

Yes, people who work in such careers are somehow involved in computer science either passively or actively. — Dzonatas 15:08, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm glad that we can both agree that computer science is a real science. If this article is to include non-scientist computer careers, I think it is very important that we demonstrate exactly how these people in these areas have made contributions to the advancement of the science. --Jonovision 19:34, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

The list of contibutors can grow quite large if we add too much detail. Perhaps, we can section the list by subdisciplines of CS. We can then refer from this article into that list for exact details. With your suggestion, I still wonder what detail is better here than on the an article page of the career positions. — Dzonatas 09:06, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I still don't see how you are distinguishing between computer programmers who contribute to the advancement of the science, and those who merely use the products of the science in their day to day work. I think it's really important to highlight that difference if we're going to include this career list. --Jonovision 20:41, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. On that note, I looked at the page for Biology. They have a very nice layout for the article. How do you feel if we used something like that to show the principles and the scope of the studies and careers? High-level programmers, network administrators, and database administrators are now taught mainstream under Information Technology rather than CS, so do you think this CS article should only include the low-level aspects? A web developer is like a programmer-analyst position, so we can merge that into the others. — Dzonatas 22:01, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


For an article that covers as much detail as this one does, surely there should be some references listed. I noticed a couple under the demographics section but I was surprised not to see a references section near external links. From reading the talk pages, I see there have been some arguments, some of which could have been settled easily with some references. - Squilibob 06:51, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


Please see initial questions and comments at science#Mediator.27s_initial_comments.2C_observations.2C_and_questions Steven McCrary 22:01, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Scientific definition of CS

The current intro says:

[... others have tried to use computer science to denote specifics related to computational science. ...]

And computational science links to scientific computing. However, I think that when one thinks of scientific aspects of CS, one has not scientific computing in mind (which is argualy not even par of CS...) What do editors of this page think?--Powo 23:58, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Foolish change by you know who. change it to [[theory of computation|computation]] until we have a proper introduction. —Ruud 00:10, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

It said until changed:

others have tried to use computer science as to denominate specifics related to computational science.

The change obviously left some vagueness in place of the intended redundacy to emphasize a contrast. Powo, your right that the science of computer science is different from the science of computational science. Both sciences do not equally apply computation. Both sciences have a separate aspect of "supercomputing." One involves throughput and performance, and the other involves availability. By that availability, one does not worry about the possibility of a hetrogenuous system. The concerns of a hetrogenuous system are under computer science and not computational science. — Dzonatas 18:24, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Plea for better intro

The intro on this page is horrible. How about something much more direct:

Computer science is the study of computing, especially software and related topics in mathematics and engineering. It is concerned with a wide range of subjects, including for example algorithms, data structures, programming languages, software engineering, computational theory, ...

and so on from there? (For what it's worth, although I think of computer science as chiefly a field of mathematics, I feel software engineering is not yet considered a separate field quite as much as, say, chemistry vs. chemical engineering.) Jorend 04:51, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

See the interminable discussion above on this page for why the intro looks that way. Stan 06:16, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
I like this intro, because it just defines CS at the "study of computers". It's general enough to not take sides into the debate over whether "scientists" are the only people who do "computer science" --Jonovision 08:56, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
At my university CS attracts huge amounts of attention, Microsoft even funded a new Computer Lab. If I look at the range of research that takes place, my description is broad enough to take it all into account, other definitions I have seen seem to be very much biased in their emphasis. Keep the introduction general and consign opinion to a seperate section/article. Hope you can agree -- Tompsci 01:22, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
With one of my first computer classes, they taught the difference between "computer-related" and "computer-specific." Surely, the intro would not agree with the professors that state what is "computer-specific." Your intro is not broad enough, as it excluded non-academia. Bill Gates is not a CS graduate, so your lab is if made of funds from a source that is very successful in computer science but which has no academic foundation. Thanks for this information about your lab. Further, your intro is not broad enough because, tompsci, you narrowed it down to academic fields. I've waited for someone to post non-U.S. data to the demographics, but it is not a reason to delete it because only the U.S. data has been posted. Seems kinda like an anti-U.S movement.

We can discuss the POV and accuracy issues here without revert wars. — Dzonatas 05:45, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, I propose you start with that however. Cheers, —Ruud 07:28, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
When Bill Gates founded MS, there was no such thing as a Computer Science degree as we now understand it. How can Computer science not be an academic subject? In what way does computer related exclude any part of computer science? Surely "computer-specific" excludes more? Please explain. -- Tompsci 09:36, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I remember that the Atari 2600 came out about the same time Microsoft started. The questions that come up often to challenge the definition of computer science need to be answered in the article. The diversity is substantial enough to merit such information. We've started such progress, but it hasn't moved for about a month. Tompsci, perhaps you can make a difference and provide sources instead of an edit war. Do look at how much detail is in the intro of biology, and answer why should this article have anything less. — Dzonatas 11:42, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Alright, instead of trying to reach consensus on the introduction let us try to reach it for the first sentence, first. I propose Computer science is the study of computation, information and complexity. Computation is a no brainer because of the name in English and refers to the theory of computation, analysis of algorithms and programming languages. In most other languages computer science is called something along the lines of informatique or datalogy. That is where the second field of study comes from. It refers to data structures, databases, .... The University of Leuven (Belgium) defines informatica ("computer science") as de wetenschap die zich bezighoudt met de beheersing van complexiteit ("the science which concers itself with the control of complexity") [2]. It refers to computational complexity theory, systems analysis, software engineering... —Ruud 11:56, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

It seems accurate to me.--Powo 13:12, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Disagree. IMO This definition excludes many areas of computer science. I propose "computer related science and technology", what are people's objections to this broad definition? -- Tompsci 13:29, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
What use is a definition if it is too broad? What areas do you feel are excluded (I can come up with computer graphics)? —Ruud 13:34, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Computer graphics should be included, how is that not computer science? How do we discover the best way to render a scene of objects? -- Tompsci 16:05, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I did not say it shouldn't be considered computer science, the opposite in fact. It is computer science, but not very well covered by the first sentence. I think it would be impossible to contruct a definition which is both "tight" and covers every aspect of such a diverse field as computer science. This could be remedied, however, by explicitly mentioning computer graphics in the introduction. —Ruud 16:29, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
The problem, of course, with a definition like "computer related science and technology" is that computers play an increasingly important role in practically all of science and technology, these days. Whatever form the definition eventually takes, i think the core difference to get across is that computer science is that science which is about computers, and not merely involving, or facilitated by, the use of computers. In other words, it should be clear that fields like bioinformatics, systems theory, and computational physics are not computer science (even though they rely on computers, and even contribute knowledge back to computer science, sometimes). --Piet Delport 14:57, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree, however with the reservation that about computers is meant in the sense of computation and not physical, tangible computer hardware. —Ruud 16:29, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Why is bioinformatics not computer science? It's concerned with the delelopement of efficient algorithms to perform biological research. I think we should distinguish between the use of computers and applications of CS to other fields. In Theoretical physics you have to design calculations to produce accurate results by avoiding problems involving loss of significance. To do that requires a computer scientist who understands the underlying hardware. -- Tompsci 16:05, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Bioinformatics is in the grey area. Developing algorithms that can efficiently perform some operation on a string of As, Cs, Gs and Ts would be computer science but applying the algorithm on an enzym would not. If you take these thing too far you get strange result. For instance, I could argue that architecture is physics, because designing a sturdy building requires a lot of mechanics.
Bioinformatics I would argue is a field of CS, however, Genome Sequencing would be Biology/Genetics. Architecture is the design of buildings, structural engineers do all the maths. -- Tompsci 16:44, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
The word "complexity" is ambiguous: it can generally be understood to mean the study of mathematical ("edge of chaos") complexity and complex systems, instead of things like computational complexity theory, "Programming Complexity", and Kolmogorov complexity/information entropy. (I think only the latter ones count as "computer science".) --Piet Delport 14:22, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I meant it to be a little ambiguous, so it could refer to computational complexity theory, but it mainly refers to, indeed, finding structure in chaos, which is an important part of the more aplied fields of CS (e.g. software engineering). On of the quote that springs to mind here it if a problem is too difficult to solve, add another layer of indirection. —Ruud 15:34, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
With "finding structure in chaos", i think you mean the kind of chaos/complexity described in the Programming Complexity article? However, the words "chaos" and "complexity" have entirely different meanings in the study of chaotic, dynamical, and/or complex systems: in that context, they represent specific mathematical concepts and behaviors that have very little do with computer science or software engineering, as such. (It's made all the more confusing by the fact that both kinds of complexity do appear in similar (sometimes the same) contexts, even though they connote different things.) For readers who don't yet have the experience to easily tell the different senses apart, using the term without qualification could easily lead to great confusion, IMHO. --Piet Delport 16:25, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
You're right, I shouldn't have used the word chaos so carelessly. The word complexity is meant in the non-mathematical sense here. —Ruud 16:29, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
How would the reader know that?

I like to share an anonymous quote about [academic] recursion:

"Computer science overlaps the development and implementation phase our system development life cycle." — Dzonatas 16:59, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
How does that say what CS is? I don't understand what you're trying to say. -- Tompsci 17:12, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
You wouldn't be the first who has that experience with this user. —Ruud 17:58, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

How about a vote?

Transferable voting system, number in order of preference (1 high). Admin votes count double. Democracy in action! Only people who have previously made non-minor edits to this page are eligble? Agree? Fair? I can't think how else we can agree.

The candidates are (in order of my preference):

  1. "Computer Science is the academic field of computer related science and technology. It includes fields including but not limited to Algorithms, Graphics, Computer Architecture and Complexity. It does not however encompass the use of computers, as is the case with computing."
  2. "Computer science, an academic discipline, is the study of computer-related science and technology. Areas that it includes include algorithms, computational theory software engineering and systems analysis. Its concern is with the design and operation of computer systems, not their use, as is the case with computing."
  3. "Computer science is the study of computation, information and complexity. It includes areas such as the theory of computation, analysis of algorithms, formal methods, concurrency control, databases, computer graphics and systems analysis. Its concern is with the design and operation of computer systems, not their use, as is the case with computing."
  4. "Computer science is the science of computer systems and related computation. It studies on the management of the complexity in the construction and analysis of its systems."
  5. "is the study, or science, of computer systems and related computation. It focuses on the management of the complexity in the construction and analysis of its systems."

Have I missed any alternatives? -- Tompsci 17:34, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

You've missed that votes are stupid. Consensus is the way forward. --Khendon 17:41, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Aren't admins voted for? Do you think that's stupid too? Obviously concensus is prefereable, but this is better than nothing. -- Tompsci 17:51, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I'd prefer some more discussion, I believe several people together will be able to come up with a better definition than a single person would. —Ruud 17:57, 17 January 2006 (UTC)


  • Katholiek Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) [3] de wetenschap die zich bezighoudt met de beheersing van complexiteit ("the science which concerns itself with the control of complexity").
  • Vrij Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands) [4] Informatica gaat over informatie en de manieren waarop je informatie kunt bewerken en verwerken. ("Computer science is about information and the ways in which you can modifiy and process it.")
  • University of Washington (United States of America) [5] Computer science is the study of information and algorithms within the context of real and abstract computing devices.
  • University of Camebridge (United Kingdom) [6] Computer Science is the study of information and computation. It asks questions about the nature of information and the operations which can be performed on it.
  • University of Camebridge (United Kingdom) [7] Computer science is an interdisciplinary subject. It is firmly rooted in engineering and mathematics, with links to linguistics, psychology and other fields. When concerned with hardware design it can overlap with electrical and electronic engineering. The development of circuits made directly on silicon chips gives a link to solid state physics. Formal methods for the construction, analysis and validation of software can, on the other hand, involve much mathematics.
  • University of Oxford (United Kingdom) [8] Computer Science is the study of problem- solving using computers.
  • Victory University of Wellington (New Zealand) [9] Computer Science is the study of computing. This includes the engineering aspects of the design of complex systems, fundamental theories of computer science, and techniques and tools used in a range of applications.
Conclusion: there is no agreed on definition, so we should have one which explains most to the casual reader as the introduction.-- Tompsci 17:59, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
True, but this might help to get some inspiration. —Ruud 18:01, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for doing this. Here are the bits I especially like: "Computer science is the study of information and algorithms" ... "Computer science is an interdisciplinary subject. It is firmly rooted in engineering and mathematics..." ... "Computer Science is the study of problem-solving using computers." This last bit, especially, nicely avoids the question of whether we're talking about practical problems and engineering know-how or formal mathematical problems and proof. Jorend 03:13, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
That are the same bits as I like, although I think computation is bit more genral than algorithms. —Ruud 12:06, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

List of buzzwords

This is a plea to stop the nonsense with the list of buzzwords as some kind of definition for computer science. As those who studied the field, you should know you have composed a "set" and not a definition. Take the time to describe every buzzword and how it ties into computer science. Just a set does not explain to the reader what computer science is about; there is no pattern. When we have something substantial, we can bring it up into the definition. Until then, I'll press the sourced version rather I agree with it or not. — Dzonatas 23:44, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I already tried to uses sources form academic pages, and it was considered a "shallow" attempt. How about other publications, instead:

" This addresses a general audience perhaps, with only a nodding acquaintance with computers. So here's a ``one-line`` definition of Computer Science:
Computer Science is the management of complexity
in the construction and analysis of systems.
Here ``complex`` is being used in its everyday sense to mean complicated, or huge. Many other areas share the concern of Computer Science in managing complexity. But this issue is particularly acute in the design and control of computing systems."

When I quoted a university's page, some other users all pointed out in unison how formidable the english was stated. The formidable part is one thing, but the unison of the action is like freshmen who didn't register for class this semester, so they sit around the cafe and act like they are in school with lots of great ideas expressed loudly in complete boredom, as they can't go home and let the family know they aren't registered, yet students these days still have access to the internet at college. Well, I'm sure you know what happens next. — Dzonatas 23:11, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I've noted how you advised against a revert war, yet your definition seems to have stayed on the article. What are these buzzwords that you claim we are using? CS is an extremely broad field and I don't think that its current definition reflects that. If I would describe CS as the "Science of Computation", I think that would exclude many important fields. -- Tompsci 01:44, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Dzonatas: I'm sure you know that ticking people off here is counterproductive. So why would you say such insulting things? If your grievance is legitimate, you're doing yourself no favors by framing your argument in this undignified way. Do try and keep your composure.
I have only emphasized what has been done. Koot obviously has tried to "warn" a few users about me, as you might have noticed a message on your discussion page. There is no need to warn anybody about me. Koot has even tried to block me. Just because I get loud in my words at times, does not mean I lacked composure. Instead, this is the reflection. When we have users on here that call each other edits "stupid", "poor", "horrible", or anything done to the effect and nobody even tries to stand up and say "hey, knock it off asshole! Don't put done so-and-so. Leave him or her alone, and lets edit harminuously." What I saw is everybody let this happen. Who tried to keep the version I had up? It was very immature to for most of the editors here to act like there is some kind of emergency to get rid of the version I contribute *which is sourced* and *obviously not my original work* instead of any dicussion. What I saw was some need to join in on the action to overwrite many months of any attempt to bring together any consensus. I don't claim my edits are perfect. But to hell if I did not try to incorporate any of your attempts to edit and what they conveyed into one version. What is the freak'n emergency to do away with many months of discussion? I'll write more later. This was really lame. — Dzonatas 15:36, 19 January 2006 (UTC) - — Dzonatas
You were block for violating WP:3RR, which I wouldn't even had bothered reporting if you hadn't tried this trick. —Ruud 16:36, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
If you properly reported a violation, you would have taken the steps to warn that you made the report to give time to discuss such matter. You were obviously "out for a win." That is very obvious since you have tried to delete my personal photo that I have made and posted. It is naturally fair-use even if it I didn't post it as under GFDL. Instead of some action to say "I'm gonna delete your picture and block you [because your wrong]"... Were is your freak'n courtesy of good faith? Technically, you have made four reverts in one day. I did not make four Wikipedia:reverts in one day. The admin, however, took your words in good faith. The issue went under discussion.
Ruud, why didn't you even try to discuss the matter that you considered a trick before you even made the report. There was absolutely no emergency to make a report of 3RR. Talk about a loss of composure. Sure, we all have made reports to 3RR, but some of us use a bit of courtesy first.
Ruud, why didn't you even use any courtesy to just simply ask the update the copyright status or simply add a fair-use tag. This is not the first image you have wanted to delete. The other image, which was on the CS page, use stated as unfree. However, you made no proof that it was unfree. I gave source and reference to it. If you even used the courtesy to follow the source and look and [it], you would have used some common sense to realize that there was no copyright. By default, it was public domain. Why not just add the PD tag? Don't want to simply add a PD tag? You'll be bold to revert and try to delete content from the face of wikipedia, and you'll even tag the image as an intent to delete if no source is added, but you carelessly overlooked the detail from the page that allowed you to tag images: "If it is obvious from comments or a copyright statement that the uploader owns the copyright to an image, then by virtue of their having uploaded it to the Wikipedia, you can assume it is GFDL." The filename of the Image:Dzonatas_20051030.3.jpg seems to make such comment very clear to its source and default copyright status.
Ruud, by these actions, to report a 3RR, to delete images, to call me stupid, to warn other users about me -- have you tried to say something that you can't seem to simply say in plain english? "State your Wikipedia:point; don't prove it experimentally. Discussion, rather than unilateral action, is the preferred means of changing policies, ..." Why kind of experiment was this? — Dzonatas 17:23, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
From what I can see, Dzonatas, you can only blame yourself for all this. You constantly refuse any compromise. You push your POV even when the whole community obviously disagrees with you. Apparently this is not only the case for this page, I have had reports from users from totally different parts of wikipedia complaining about you for the same kind of reasons as those we reproch to you here. I remember when your user page started with this incredibly presemptuous citing: one is a majority if he is right (or something similar), a lightmotiv you seem to apply constantly. This is not to talk about the fact that you repeatidly refused to answer about your relations to user User:Jhballard, which has been under the same kind of reproches (strange! You and hime are the same?). I most say I have seen this page incredibly improved since a few days (i.e. since you have been blocked), thanks to those editors which have not given up arguing with you! I hope you will aknowledge this fact and change your editing policy. In fact, since you evidently disagree so much and so often with the POV of the rest of the community, and since you apparently are not ready to accept compromises, I even hope you will give up editing this page...--Powo 20:43, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Powo, by this statement alone "I even hope you will give up editing this page", you have suggested censorship and not neutrality. Your entire comment above only separates and effort for neutrality. You continually have tried to take hits on personal reputability without any meat. Some people might be affected by what you say. This is not what wikipedia is about, however. This is not meant to go around and bash other users just because you don't agree with them. As for "whole community" here, this is not a democracy not because it doesn't want to be, but it can't be because, for example, of simple known issues of sockpuppets. How do I know you are not Ruud, or Stan, or someother person? Some of the edits here seem to happen in unison. (Note by Powo: this last (unsigned) paragraph was written by Dzonatas)
Maybe because we all agree on what CS is in the main lines. Of course we can disagree on some details, and learn from each other. The problem with you is that YOU disagree with EVERYBODY, and not in the details: on the most elementary basics... And yes, I am suggesting censorship: auto sensorship from yourself to yourself, since I have notices that 3 days of blocking (i.e. censorship from the admins to you) have done an awfull good to this page!--Powo 11:52, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
For you to suggest that any of us might be sockpuppets, would imply that we all agree with each other, but not with you. Surely we are therefore the majority; in the interests of democracy you should stop reverting our edits and even editing the page unless you are willing to comply with "concensus bar one". It's you that is the cause of conflict. -- Tompsci 11:57, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
"As those who studied the field, you should know you have composed a "set" and not a definition." Well, words do defy definition sometimes. "Computer science" obviously means different things to different people. A glib, crisp definition that 2/3 of the contributors find offensive would probably be a mistake. A vague definition that steers the reader in the right direction might be the best we can do. A list of some fields that we all agree are computer science would likely be helpful to the reader, too. Jorend 03:41, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

careers section

What do people think of the careers section? It could be incorporated in a paragraph that outlines the differece between computer science research, education and what graduates end up doing, but as a list I'd say it provides a bit of an unbalanced view. —Ruud 18:08, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Lists in "See Also"

Do we really need links here to lists that are already in Category:Computer science? If we were to link to every CS-related list, it would be rather confusing to readers &emdash; and some of those lists are widely CS-related, whereas others are only applicable to certain fields... I think we should just "See also" Category:Computer science and focus on making that a useful tool for further reading. --bmills 18:08, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

The see also section needs at least some links in it because of the templates it also contains. I think the lists were the most relevant from the old see also section. I wouldn't mind if they were replaced with some thing more relevant, although it think the lists are usefull, because they contain a lot of links to other articles. It is also how it is done in the physics and chemistry articles. —Ruud 18:17, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Ah, right. The templates won't float without some text to float alongside. I do think we should link the category, though, just as a reminder; and perhaps un-link the field-specific lists? --bmills 18:27, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I removed the list of algorithms and data structures. Categories are never links from in the see also section, because you can access them from the bottom of the article. —Ruud 18:28, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Most of the casual WP readers I know forget that categories exist -- since this is the main article for that category don't you think a link would be appropriate? --bmills 18:31, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
No it's just one of those don't do things. Also the see also section is really close the bottom, so the category is pretty hard to miss. —Ruud 18:33, 18 January 2006 (UTC)