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Computer Science Fundamentals

Mithat Konar

What is computer science?

  • Webster: The study of computers and their uses.1)
  • Oxford: The study of the principles and use of computers.2)
  • University at Buffalo: The systematic study of algorithmic methods for representing and transforming information.3)

What is computer science?

  • computer science: The science of what can be computed.
  • computational science
    • What is computation?

Major branches of computer science

  • algorithms
  • theory of computation
  • computer architecture
  • software systems
  • artificial intelligence4)

Computer science topics

  • computer graphics
  • databases
  • networks and protocols
  • numerical methods
  • operating systems
  • parallel computing
  • simulation and modeling
  • software engineering.5)

Application fields


What about programming?


  • The word algorithm is derived from the name of 9th-century mathematician and astronomer Al-Khwarizmi.
    • Worked under the caliphate of al-Ma'mun in Baghdad.
    • Also introduced “al-jabr”, which in English is called “algebra”.
  • First appears in European texts in 17th century.
  • Modern usage in 19th century.


  • Webster: A set of steps that are followed in order to solve a mathematical problem or to complete a computer process.7)
  • Oxford: A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.8)

Algorithm example

  • “Long” cardinal number multiplication: A * B
let C equal 0
repeat the following B times:
    add A to C
the desired result is C

What is a computer?


  • The physical stuff.


  • computer software: a set of program instructions and its related data and documentation that can be executed by computer.

Kinds of software


Merriam-Webster. Accessed July 25, 2016. science.
“Definition of Computer Science in English:” Computer Science: Definition of Computer Science in Oxford Dictionary (American English) (US). Accessed July 25, 2016. science.
3) , 4) , 5)
“UB - University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.” What Is Computer Science? Accessed July 25, 2016.
From Charles Dierbach, Introduction to Computer Science Using Python: A Computational Problem-solving Focus (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2013).
Merriam-Webster. Accessed July 25, 2016.
“Definition of algorithm in English:” Computer Science: Definition of Computer Science in Oxford Dictionary (American English) (US). Accessed July 25, 2016.
computer_basics/computer_science_fundamentals.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/18 20:39 by mithat