Motherboard circa 2005

Computer Science

  • programming, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, visualization, networks and security
  • hardware, software, networks
  • information and communication technology (IT or ICT)

Computer scientists and engineers design computers and the instruction sets in computer programs that control systems and devices in the world around us. Examples are automobile engine controls or Internet information delivery. Examples of new human-related challenges are in developing programs that help physically challenged for controlling the motion of artificial limbs or for driving a car. Computer engineers work for companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Hewlett Packard.

Computer engineers apply scientific theory and engineering design to use and develop new computer hardware or software. They write programs to solve problems and create more efficient ways of doing things. They also design new systems and machines, like robots, that rely on computers to operate.

Kids using computers

Software Engineer – apply computer science theory and engineering principles to design a variety of large computer software systems. While many software engineers design and program software to solve problems, other software engineers meet with customers to define the features they want in the software or test the software once it has been programmed to make sure it works correctly.

Software can be found just about everywhere these days. You can find it on the Internet or buy it in a store, but sometimes it is made specifically for a customer to address a unique need. You can find examples of software on websites, on a CD, or as part of a device such as a car, microwave oven, or mobile phone.

Computer networks are based on passing messages from computer to computer. This sounds simple in principle, but in practice all sorts of contention and bottlenecks can occur.

Meet a Computer engineer
Software engineer is more specific than computer engineer which usually covers hardware and networks as well.

  • Shaundra develops software that helps girls explore their emotions.
  • Tara creates Star Wars video games at LucasArts
  • John Harding (Computer Engineer) – Hardware Development Engineer, Hewlett Packard Company – working on developing software tools and hardware designs. Some non-engineering courses that have proved to be helpful are management, business, and entrepreneurship classes.
  • Ross Sabolcik, Senior Software Engineer, National Instruments – Senior Software Engineer, writing software and working with electronic circuits as well as debugging problems and dealing with customers.
  • Bradley Hartman (Computer Scientist) – Senior Systems Engineer, Walt Disney Imagineering – Project Engineer in the Controls Department, dealing with ride and show controls for the theme parks. He is also in charge of project scheduling and financing.
  • Cyber warriors – Teens develop ‘ethical hacking’ skills to defend computer systems

What’s the problem?
What is computer science? (video 1:42) Should computer science have a place in the classroom? Computer experts say yes. They point out that by 2020, U.S. universities will not be able to fill even a third of the country’s 1.4 million computing jobs.

The nonprofit site Code.org has begun introducing coding into schools. They created a campaign last year called Hour of Code. The program was available free to schools throughout the world. This year’s Hour of Code will take place during Computer Science Education Week, December 8 to 14.
Engineering ideas

  • hardware, software, analysis, design, development, project management, program, applications, systems, controls, networking

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • play the Orange Game with 4 others. This is a demonstration of an activity that demonstrates Computer Science without using computers. The Orange Game demonstrates Routing and Deadlock in Networks (video 2:04)
  • UNTANGLED – compete to make the most compact circuit layout on a grid. (video introduction 2:30)