On November 11th – World Usability Day – I will have the honor of giving a keynote "talk" at the Dayton-area event. I say "talk" in quotes because I really want it to be a more interactive session, where I provide enough background to get the discussion going, then the audience (participants, really) take over from there.
In the spirit of trying to make it easier for attendees to become participants, Douglas Gardner, the awesome organizer of the event at LexisNexis, has asked me to compile some pre-work / questions that he can distribute to people who have signed up to attend the Dayton event. I feel like a teacher giving students homework to do, but here goes!
What kind of discipline is computer science? I thought it was a science when I received my BS. I believed its subdiscipline software engineering was engineering when I received my PhD. I’d heard, and would continue to hear, “This isn’t any kind of science/engineering I know!” from physicists and electrical engineers. I tried for years to prove them wrong. But now I think they’re right.
I’ve seen computer science described as many things—a blend, usually, of disciplines: mathematics and electrical engineering, with psychology thrown in, and occasionally more exotic area like physics (quantum computing) and molecular biology (biological computers). Certainly CS research and practice draw from these areas, but drawing from is different from being, or even being derived from. And none of these descriptions quite hits the mark. In my opinion, we would be best served by viewing CS as a branch of philosophy.
How times change. Yesterday Michael Dell took to the stage at the KACE conference to discuss not only a pocketful of Android phones (apparently he made a show of pulling them from his pockets), but also to talk of a future where he anticipates the workplace is full of Apple, Android, and Microsoft computing devices. Dell also briefly confirmed a planned 10-inch tablet running Android.