Have you ever engaged yourself in an unending conversation contemplating one’s own thoughts, beliefs and ideas with a volley of questions?
You ask question because you are in search of answer, the right information that defines logic. Questioning is one of the ways of speculating our thoughts, doubting our beliefs.
Questioning gives us clarity. It gives non-obvious answers and creates curiosity. Curiosity is the one of those innate qualities that becomes dormant over a period time, when you start believing that you know everything.
It is this curiosity keeps pushing the scientists to explore the unexplored, forces travelers to explore wild unseen side of nature and helps testers explore unknown aspects of applications.
I was reading a book on ‘Networking’ from Computer Science Engineering. While I started developing the skill of questioning, I came across a very interesting question which I never thought before in my life.
The question is ‘Why engineering of computers is called ‘Science’? And why other branches of engineering do not have the word ‘Science’ in it. I Googled and found different reasons to call ‘Computer Engineering’, a subject of Science. Although there were no satisfactory answers but the idea was not to find the right answers but to generate curiosity in the subject.
Let me demonstrate with few examples.
P.S: The answers may not be satisfactory as they are mostly taken from different content available online but the aim is to make reader understand the curiosity that is generated in asking WHY type of questions.
Q. Why is the computer branch of engineering called ‘science’? Is Computer Science really Science?
A. “A scientist builds in order to learn; an engineer learns in order to build.”
— Fred Brook s
The dictionary definition of “engineering” is the application of scientific and mathematical principles toward practical ends.
Science V/s Engineering:
Scientists learn what is true, how to test hypotheses and how to extend knowledge in their field. Engineers learn what is true, what is useful, and how to apply well understood knowledge to solve practical problems. Scientists must keep up to date with the latest research. Engineers must be familiar with knowledge that has already proven to be reliable and effective. If you are doing science, you can afford to be narrow and specialized. If you are doing engineering, you need a broad understanding of all the factors that affect the product you are designing. [Sources]
It include study of algorithms and their complexities, computer architecture, programming languages, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, databases, networks and protocols, numerical methods, operating systems, parallel computing, simulation and modeling and software engineering. It deals with theory, symbols and their manipulations, algorithms and data structures. [Sources]
Computer Engineering (CEN) is closer to the design of physical devices. With an urge to build things, their prototypes in laboratories using fundamental laws of science which includes physics, chemistry and mathematics is computer engineering. Study of Hardware is an important part of computer engineering. Study of Software or Software engineering is present in both computer science and computer engineering. [Sources]
Now the question arises, does that mean the computer science we study in college is actually Computer Engineering and not Science at all as we do not undergo any specialized research to find anything new? Instead, we only apply the fundamentals already established by Science for practical purpose.
Why computers are called computing machines?
Actually computers are only machines which store large chunks of data and handle it. Programmer study and designs algorithms to do computation on stored data. Computers do not calculate anything by themselves; it is the algorithm through which we get output. And we still call data handling machine as ‘computers’. They only follow the given instructions. The only thing that gives them the edge is their fast calculations. But they can’t compute like humans as they are not intelligent. They are file handling machines. The good word would be data filing machines or Datalogy (suggested by Scientist Peter Naur).
Why computers are not intelligent?
Intelligence means ‘a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience’ [sources : Wikipedia]
Intelligence is quality of human as well as birds and animals. Actually computers are good at certain things like Weather forecasting and playing chess. It displays the intelligence but truly not. Computers predict next move in chess or predict certain information on weather based on old records. It can easily predict more than ten good guesses whereas human can make on and average three to four guesses at a time. It store information which is consistent & accurate which helps them to predict better move than human. But this should not be the criteria to decide intelligence of computers. Still they are good at storing data. Also they are extremely faster than humans.
Why computers are faster than human?
Computers have the main unit called ‘Processor’. Processor is the collection of transistors. The number of transistors tells the processing speed of processor. 4004 processor had 2,250 transistors whereas latest desktop core i5 processor has around 774 million transistors. If we combine more than two or more processor together then processing is extremely fast. Like other machines hold more weight than human, or they gives us details of micro elements which is not visible to human eyes. It means human has limitations and machine aid human to be more efficient.
Why Computer Processor has transistor?
Transistors are used to turn current on and off in a circuit as an electrically controlled switch. Through which processor recognize the instruction as 1 & 0 which is binary.
I also learned that if we can replace silicon transistor with carbon nano-tubes then processor would be faster than silicon transistor processor.
There’s no end to this curiosity. Why don’t you pick up a statement and start asking the WHY questions. Let the Curiosity magic begin!
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