Sunday, January 23, 2011


Within the computer science field, computer scientists can work in many areas. Depending on the profession, some computer scientists may need to know a little about each area, while others may need deep knowledge of one or two areas.

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence can be described as programming computers to perform tasks that require intelligence if humans were performing the tasks. This is not the only definition, though, and of all the areas in computer science, this one has perhaps the most contentious boundaries. Some researchers believe artificial intelligence must mimic the processes of the human brain; others are interested only in solving problems that seem to require intelligence, like understanding a request written in English.

Theory of Computation
The theory of computation puts limits on what can be computed. Some limits are practical. It may be shown, for instance, that a computer could solve a certain problem, but it would take hundreds of years to get the result. Other limits are absolute. Strange as it may seem, some questions have a fixed, numerical answer that cannot be computed. Scientists in this area also compare programming solutions to specific tasks in a formal way. For example, a common computing task is sorting, which just means to put items in some order (like alphabetizing a list of student records by last name). Countless ways can be used to approach the sorting problem, each with advantages and disadvantages. Computational theory is used to determine which situations are most suited to a particular approach.

Human-Computer Interaction
The computer scientist working in human-computer interaction investigates how people use computers now and how people and computers can work together better in the future. This research is similar to graphic design. A graphic designer is a specialist who knows how the colors, fonts, arrangement of text, pictures, and other elements make a book, magazine, or advertisement easier for the viewer to understand. Now that computer interfaces are increasingly graphical, the same kinds of ideas are used, except that a computer is interactive. For example, many programs now have a “toolbar,” which is a row of pictures that allow the user to select commonly used operations without navigating the entire menu of options. This kind of design innovation is a result of study in human-computer interaction.

Information Management
A database in general usage is any organized collection of data. In computer science, a database specifically means a collection of data that is stored in a computer-readable form. Examples include an online book catalog at the library or the account information for each person who has a VISA card. The information management area is concerned with how databases are created, stored, accessed, shared, updated, and secured.

Computer Graphics
Computer graphics is the generation of images through computers. It includes simple text displays as well as images that appear to be in three dimensions. An important part of computer graphics is computer visualization, which attempts to pictorially display data in a way that is most understandable for the user. For instance, a visualization can allow surgeons to preview a surgical procedure before actually performing it. Other forms of visualization involve data that have no natural pictorial form. As a result, these must be displayed in a form that tells a story or makes a point. If you’ve seen a graph or chart generated with a computer program that seemed to have no clear meaning, you know why this area is important. Like many areas in computer science, computer visualization is as much human psychology as machine capability. The computer visualization expert asks, “How do we as human beings process visuals?”

As computer graphics become more advanced, they terminate at a point called virtual reality, in which graphics and sensory feedback are all-encompassing. This can be seen, for example, a room in which every surface is covered with synchronized computer displays. It’s important to note that virtual reality does not promise an experience indistinguishable from the “real world,” although that may be a goal for some researchers. Rather, it is an experience in which the outside world is temporarily blocked from our senses.

Software Engineering
As previously discussed, a software engineer is involved with the entire process of a program’s development, not just in programming. Software engineering is concerned with improving the process of making software. This means creating new processes for software engineers to follow, new techniques for project management, new methods to test software to ensure its quality, and new metrics for measuring how effective any of the other new ideas have been.


Computer Science Is All about Math
The kind and degree of math involved with computer science depends on what area one works in. Most programming involves math no more advanced than high school algebra, but some specialties require more. Someone who writes a mortgage interest calculator would need to understand financial calculations. Someone who writes a program to plot the trajectory of a satellite through space needs to understand trigonometry and calculus. Most programs, though, are built upon basic operations like addition and multiplication.

Men Are Better Suited to Computer Science than Women
Judging by the number of men and women working in the field, one could say that men as a group are more interested in computer science than women. But there’s nothing to suggest that men are better at it. Women may have avoided computer science because of an aversion to math (which is probably caused by another myth) and because of media portrayals of computer scientists as socially awkward, pasty-faced “geeks.” Computer science is a field that rewards excellence, regardless of gender or ethnicity, and all those interested should apply.

Computer Science Is for Geniuses
Genius never hurt anyone in the sciences, but having a high IQ and a knack for programming and other computer science concepts are two different things. While the people at the top of any profession usually have extraordinary abilities (that’s why they’re at the top), plenty of “ordinary” people have excelled in this field.

Computer Security
Much sensitive data is stored on computers, including tax records, credit card bills, bank accounts, and medical histories. And with computers increasingly interconnected, it’s become easier for data to be stolen. The old adage, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” shows its truth here in the information age, where every computer is a link to another. So it’s no surprise that computer security is a rapidly growing field. Computer security involves finding ways to protect data from unauthorized access. This includes installing software to limit intrusions to a network, instructing employees on safe habits, and analyzing the aftermath of a system break-in to learn how to prevent a recurrence. A related field is computer forensics, though in fact this is almost the reverse of computer security since it involves breaking through security to retrieve partially deleted files. The purpose of this “break-in” is to obtain and analyze evidence to be used in a court trial.

Source of Information :  Broadway-Computer Science Made Simple 2010
Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl


Post a Comment