Computer science is the study of computers, their architecture and applications. Computer science consists of many diverse fields, including the architecture of computer systems, software development, artificial intelligence, theory of algorithms and mathematical analysis.
Prior to the 1920s, the word 'computer' referred to a human being employed as a worker for calculations. Researchers including Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing studied problems on how to improve the efficiency of these ‘calculators’ mainly looking into their adherence to sets of instructions rather than improving their mental ability. They did this so that they could use the results to develop 'machine computers', which essentially would be unable to think by themselves.
In the 1930s and 40s, when such machines were introduced, the word computers began to be applied to them rather than human beings. More powerful and faster computer hardware and software began to be manufactured in the 1950s and onwards and computers found many uses and applications in industries. This led to the development of the discipline of computer science in the 1960s in many universities and colleges.
The major sub-disciplines of computer science include its mathematical foundations, theories of computation, software development, artificial intelligence and graphics. Some of these are explained below:
Software development includes software engineering (programming), mathematical theory, testing and development.
This branch aims at increasing the ‘creativity’ of computers so that they resemble a human’s mind as much as possible. Artificial intelligence includes automated reasoning, robotics, 3-D image recognition and learning through experience.
This field includes computer aided design (CAD), human-computer interfaces and scientific visualization.
Achievements and impact
Today, computer programmed devices have entered peoples’ houses through VCRs, microwave ovens, smart washing machines and so on. Computers have found places in almost every office, as they are used instead of typewriters and as a tool for communication over the internet using e-mail and text and voice conversations. Other applications include computerized telephone systems, e-banking including ATMs and e-commerce. Currently, newer ways of integrating computers in manufacturing processes are being researched.