Steve Lohr has a great piece today in the NY Times on the state of CS, called “Computing, 2016: What Won’t be Possible?” The essay was apparently spurred by last week’s CSTB’s 20th Anniversary symposium, which I regret that I couldn’t attend. (Fortunately Cameron and David from ACM’s U.S. Public Policy Committee did and have some great write-ups.)
Here’s a snippet from the NY Times piece:
Computer science is not only a comparatively young field, but also one that has had to prove it is really science. Skeptics in academia would often say that after Alan Turing described the concept of the universal machine in the late 1930s the idea that a computer in theory could be made to do the work of any kind of calculating machine, including the human brain all that remained to be done was mere engineering.
The more generous perspective today is that decades of stunningly rapid advances in processing speed, storage and networking, along with the development of increasingly clever software, have brought computing into science, business and culture in ways that were barely imagined years ago. The quantitative changes delivered through smart engineering opened the door to qualitative changes.
Computing changes what can be seen, simulated and done. So in science, computing makes it possible to simulate climate change and unravel the human genome. In business, low-cost computing, the Internet and digital communications are transforming the global economy. In culture, the artifacts of computing include the iPod, YouTube and computer-animated movies.
Whats next? That was the subject of a symposium in Washington this month held by the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, which is part of the National Academies and the nations leading advisory board on science and technology.
Glad to see that the CSTB event succeeded in getting the message across that computing is a discipline still rich with challenges and contributions to make. Let’s hope this piece gets as wide a circulation (and has as big an impact) as this previous NY Times piece….
You can read all of Lohr’s piece today here.