Saturday, November 22, 2014

How do we talk about Computing? - C@SS Conference

Quintin Cutts
{Live capture}

We have things and processes and we try to work out what are the key characteristics. The key characteristics is information. We use this information to model the process and then there is reasoning: how well does the model match the process?


Almost any computing activity fits into these levels. For example, a plan for a program is in one sense a model.

In science, we are encouraged to model and test. Newton saw the apple fall and developed a model which has been tested and developed ever since. But in school, we assume the model and teach it as true. In comparison, in Computing when we build and test a program, we are doing real science - just like Newton. Could argue that school Computing does more real science than school Science does!

Quintin then told us a story... Talked about the Industrial Revolution where people made machines to to replace a specific task, usually replacing something that people used to do. (Replacing muscle power with machine power.) Different machine for each task. If you didn't have a machine, your industry died. (For example, linen was more important than cotton but the cotton chaps worked out how to mechanise the production.) Digital Revolution replacing general purpose brain with general purpose programmable machine. The machine stays the same the software changes.

Other Sciences are beginning to see the value of Computing: the breakthroughs are coming from computational modelling rather than mathematics.

Location:Colinton Road,Edinburgh,United Kingdom

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