Social media, texting, GPS, and the Internet. What do these things have in common? They were all created and made possible by computer science!
While we may seldom stop to consider it, computer science affects the everyday lives of the vast majority of Earth’s citizens, whether it be through cell phones, tablets, the Internet, game consoles, or social media. But what is computer science?
One possible definition of computer science is the study of computational machines, algorithmic processes, and computation itself — loosely speaking, this means the study of computers and their components (in every form, from cell phones to virtual reality headsets to supercomputers!), the sequences of instructions that tell computers what to do, and the mathematics that determines whether or how rapidly a given task can be performed by a computer.
However, modern computer science also includes many other exciting branches and applications. Examples include methods allowing computers to learn from data (machine learning), computational tools supporting human health (health informatics), techniques for enabling secure communication (cryptography), the study of the human side of interactive computing systems (human-computer interaction), and many more.
To encourage a greater awareness of computer science and its important societal roles, the Cheriton School of Computer Science hosts various events and resources to excite interest in the possibilities and limitations of computer science. We raise awareness within the local community through face-to-face and on-campus events, and to the wider world through online webcasts, videos, study materials, and interactive modules. In this way, we hope to increase the world’s knowledge and appreciation of the study and real-world applications of computer science.