Q&A: Computer Science Looks for a Remake
How can CS become an appealing career choice again?
Future Watch by Gary Anthes
MAY 01, 2006 (COMPUTERWORLD) - Two of the world's premier facilities
for research and education in computer science are celebrating big
birthdays this spring. Stanford University's CS department observed
its 40th birthday in March, and Carnegie Mellon University's school of
CS passed the half-century mark last month.
Despite the celebrations on both campuses, there is a deep malaise in
computer science these days. Professors bemoan falling enrollments, a
decline in prestige and a lack of attention to real-world
problems. But, paradoxically, they say the future of CS has never been
brighter, both within the discipline and in fields that computer
technology will increasingly influence. Computerworld's Gary Anthes
recently asked six CS professors what lies ahead for the field.
* How important is computer science as a discipline today?
Birman: The importance of CS has never been greater. We're
discovering ways to build just about everything out of small,
simple mechanisms glued together with software, so no matter
what you do, CS tends to be inside. And the scope of this new CS
is amazing: We're at the center of the action in biology,
nanotechnology, particle physics. If society is ever going to
slash medical costs, CS will play the key role. I see CS as a
sort of universal science. We're beginning to pervade
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