Monday, August 29, 2011

About Computer Science and Informatics

Computer Science ≠ Informatics

What is Computer Science?
What is Informatics?

Computer Science and Informatics were considered identical terms. Today, the terms are different. The general public sometimes confuses Computer Science with Informatics or Information Technology (IT). Computing (information and knowledge processing) has changed the world and continues to influence nearly every aspect of our lives, including medicine and health care, business and finance, education and training, science and technology, politics and government, and entertainment.

"Computer Science (CS) is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems." -

"Informatics studies the application of information technology to practically any field, while considering its impact on individuals, organizations, and society. It uses computation as a universal tool to solve problems in other fields, to communicate, and to express ideas." Dennis P. Groth, Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, Why an Informatics Degree?, Communications of the ACM, feb. 2010



Computer science and Informatics
Computer science is a popular major for first-year students at Iowa. It develops competence in programming principles and methodologies, problem-solving techniques, mathematics, computer systems, data manipulation, and computer applications.
The informatics major combines competence in computational methods with expertise in a particular domain, such as geography or public health, which supports informed decision making.
Informatics students combine courses that provide a strong foundation in computing with work in one of several cognates, creating multidimensional programs that suit the educational and economic needs of the 21st century.



"Informatics studies the application of information technology to practically any field, while considering its impact on individuals, organizations, and society. It uses computation as a universal tool to solve problems in other fields, to communicate, and to express ideas.
Formally, informatics is the study of the structure and behavior of natural and artificial systems that generate, process, store, and communicate information. Informatics also includes (1) the study of the cognitive, social, legal, and economic impact of information systems; (2) research and development of technologies needed to implement artificial information systems that enhance our cognitive abilities; and (3) the development and use of advanced information systems in science, engineering, arts, humanities, education, and business. Because so much information can be stored digitally, we can manipulate it by computer. And because there is so much information, computing is often the only way to make information beneficial to humanity.
The ability to handle vast amounts of information cheaply has changed the way we live. Advances in computing power, the World Wide Web, search engines, and large-scale collaborative initiatives like Wikipedia have revolutionized the way knowledge is created and shared. We have new forms of social interaction — from email, IM, and blogs to eBay, Facebook, and YouTube — and collaborative art and entertainment - from Limewire and podcasts to Guitar Hero and Second Life. Information technology (IT) has become a ubiquitous, indispensable component of our everyday lives, helping — or hindering — us as we manage information, create knowledge, and make decisions.
Within the humanities, digital content is changing the way we visualize, present, understand, and experience history and literature. Within the fine arts, artists are using high-tech tools to construct virtual worlds, produce animations, and make music. Within the social, biological, and physical sciences, pattern analysis, data mining, visualization of massive data sets, and large-scale simulation of biological and physical processes, are enabling new discoveries and insights.
To leverage these advances to solve problems across all disciplines requires knowledge of how to represent problems and domain-specific data, how to structure processes, how to handle work-flow, how to manage complexity, and how to interpret results. To fully participate as an informed member of society, we must appreciate the historical, ethical, and social ramifications of these accelerating changes.
Informatics addresses all of these issues and provides tools for handling them.

3. Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine

"Computing and information technology play an increasingly pervasive role in our daily lives. Informatics is based on recognizing that the design of this technology is not solely a technical matter, but must focus on the relationship between the technology and its use in real-world settings. That is, informatics designs solutions in context, and takes into account the social, cultural and organizational settings in which computing and information technology will be used."
These aspects of computer science form the core of informatics: software engineering, information retrieval and management, programming languages, human-computer interaction, computer-supported collaborative work, ubiquitous computing, privacy and security, and the effects of technology on society.
At its periphery, informatics touches upon many different disciplines, including management, digital arts, visualization, economics, social science, cognitive science, organizational computing, medical informatics, game technology, and many others.

"What was a key topic for study and classroom discussion in the 1970s or 1980s is not necessarily - nor very likely - to be so key in the 21st century. New topics emerge continuously that require prominent positions in curricula, yet we cannot forget the foundations and knowledge that have stood the test of time."
André van der Hoek, Professor and Chair, Department of Informatics

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