Computer science as a discipline first emerged in the 1960s and was perhaps somewhat neglected as a field of study, hidden as it was behind the shadow of the Iron Curtain, surpassed by the civil rights movement, and outdone by feminists fighting for equal rights. Yet the emergence of a new science – the science of a machine that would go on to revolutionise the 20th century – is arguably of no less important than many of the great things happening in this era.
The computer is one of the defining features of modern society, having revolutionised the way we live and work. The invention of the first electronic computer in the 1940s was without a doubt one of the most important developments of the 20th century. As I sit here typing this, I am accompanied by a chorus of colleagues tip-tapping at their laptops. Enter any office building and you will experience the same – nothing is done via pen and paper anymore. The majority of us own and use a computer and possibly even a smart phone and tablet. Yet despite this, the science behind the machine is less understood outside of the professional science community.
InComputer Science: A Very Short Introduction, Subrata Dasgupta offers the intellectually curious reader an understanding of the fundamental nature of computer science. This concise, enthusiastic and wholly-accessible overview of the topic was written to enrich the public understanding of this influential, yet strange new field of study, and, above all, to answer the question: what is computer science?
This review was first published on WordPress for E&T magazine