What is computer science?
Computer science deals with the study of computing, information, and automation. While it has a significant theoretical component, there’s also implementation and its practical, even empirical character; it is by nature interdisciplinary.
Some of the disciplines involved in computer science are mathematics and engineering. Within the field of computer science, the importance of algorithms, programming languages, data structures, information theory, artificial intelligence, robotics, and so forth are of particular note.
What applications does computer science have?
The applications of computer science are quite broad and are constantly growing, keeping pace with technological progress. Some of the most obvious applications have to do with:
- Managing information through dynamic and interconnected databases.
- Developing artificial intelligence that can learn and solve problems.
- Communicating through computer networks.
All of this has applications in any field of science, technology, or knowledge, such as health, ecology, education, transportation, food, industry, entertainment, etc.
What are the job prospects for computer science professionals?
The employment landscape for computer science professionals is also very broad; it includes the following options, among others:
- Developing computer software and hardware.
- Systems analysis.
- Web development.
- Information security.
When did computer science start to be developed?
The origins of what is known as computer science can be traced back to antiquity with instruments as apparently as simple as the abacus. This instrument, devised between 1000 BC and 500 BC, can perform basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) as well as other more complex and theoretical ones, such as calculating roots.
The event that opened the doors to computer science as we know it today was the invention of automatic calculating machines. The first one, which was mechanical, was devised by German scientist Wilhelm Schickard in 1623. Half a century later, his fellow German Gottfried Leibniz created a digital mechanical calculator. Leibniz is considered the first computer scientist as well as the first information theorist; he was also the first to document the binary system. Leibniz is considered the last universal genius; until that time, the figure of the polymath was relatively common among thinkers, but the specialization of knowledge that has taken place since the 18th century made the existence of this type of figure impossible.
The next great milestone in the history of communication sciences was the invention of programming. It began in 1822 when English inventor Charles Babbage devised the first programmable automatic calculator, the Analytical Engine. Thanks to the adoption of punch cards, which arose from the invention of the Jacquard machine (France), calculators were virtually infinitely programmable.
Ada Lovelace is considered the first programmer in history; she wrote the first algorithm specifically intended for implementation on a machine. This algorithm is included in the many notes accompanying her translation of the transcript of the seminar that Luigi Menabrea gave at the University of Turin about the Analytical Engine; the notes are longer than the original text. She was also the first to foresee the potential that computers held beyond applications in calculation and reflect on the collaborative possibilities between individuals and technology.