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Traditionally, a science such as physics overlaps with mathematics and engineering in a way that has been astonishingly productive. The math provides precise expression for the science, which in turn supplies the engineering with the information it needs to exploit physical phenomena. Computer science naturally wishes to put itself in the center of the traditional picture as a science. Unfortunately, it won't wash. The `science' of programming is pure and simple mathematics, not science. The distinction is more than linguistic, since science and mathematics have quite distinct goals and methods. By making the wrong choice, computer science research has been saddled with an extraneous requirement to `experiment', and its mathematics has not been properly exploited. Without science, `software engineers' have been cast adrift with a huge `software problem' that better mathematics might hope to solve.
Dick Hamlet is Professor Emeritus in Computer Science at Portland State University. He has been active in software development and research for almost 50 years, as a programmer, manager, teacher, and researcher. He was a member of the software engineering research group at the University of Maryland for 12 years, a visiting lecturer at University of Melbourne in 1982, a Fulbright scholar at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), in 1998-99, and E.T.S. Walton Fellow at NUIG in 2003-4. He is the author of three textbooks, a monograph, and more than 50 refereed conference and journal publications. He has implemented major software systems for two programming languages, the first mutation testing system, a transportable image-processing system, a prototyping system for testing tools, and a software-component composition package. He holds a BS (electrical engineering) from the University of Wisconsin, MS (engineering physics) from Cornell, and PhD (computer science) from the University of Washington.
Computer science -- Philosophy, Science -- Philosophy, Mathematics -- Philosophy, Computer science -- Mathematics
Mathematics | Philosophy of Science | Theory and Algorithms
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Hamlet, Dick, "The Intersection between Science and Computer Science is Almost Empty" (2012). Systems Science Friday Noon Seminar Series. 51.