Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

“We Are the World” – Science Magazine on Computer Science careers

March 27th, 2013 / in Uncategorized / by Ed Lazowska

In two articles in Science – the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – CCC Chair Ed Lazowska is interviewed on career futures in Computer Science.  An example from an extensive Q&A:

Q: What’s new and emerging in computer science? If you were in training today, about to choose a thesis area, what subfields would you look at?

E.L.: Computer science is a field of limitless opportunity, and limitless impact. We are terrible at predicting the future: We overestimate what can be achieved in 10 years, and we underestimate what can be achieved in 50. Look back 10 or 12 years. Did we foresee the revolutions in search, Web-scale systems, digital media, mobility, e-commerce, the cloud, social networking, and crowdsourcing? No way! These were barely on the horizon in 2000, and they are part of our everyday lives today.

Here’s one thing that’s certain in the next 10 years: We will put “the smarts” in everything:  smart homes, smart cars, smart health, smart robots, smart science (confronting the data deluge), smart crowds and human-computer systems, smart interaction (virtual and augmented reality).

And here’s another thing that’s certain: Every field of discovery will become an “information” field. That’s the “big data” story: Data-driven discovery will become the norm, driven by advances in computer science. Think about biology. [James] Watson and [Francis] Crick discovered the biochemistry of DNA. But what they really discovered is that the human genome is a digital code, which can be read, deciphered, and rewritten. Over several decades, this transformed biology into an information science. Today, if you’re a biologist who is not deeply rooted in “computational thinking,” you’re collecting tadpoles in some swamp. The same is true of an increasing number of fields.

These advances draw upon all of computer science. Today, machine learning is hot. Tomorrow, it will be something else. The only thing for sure is that it will be computer science.

Read the Q&A here.  Read a separate related article on workforce trends here.

“We Are the World” – Science Magazine on Computer Science careers

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