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Scope in Comp Science

  1. Aug 4, 2010 #1
    HI guys Im a first year engineering student and have yet not decided upon my branch of engineering but over the last few weeks the field of comp sci is looking very attractive to me... So I would like to know that what is the scope in this field..especially AI(Artificial Intelligence).....And what are it's uses in Space Technology.....
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2010 #2
    One thing you should keep in mind is the difference between computer engineering, and computer science. Computer engineering is essentially electronic engineering with a focus on building computational systems. There's bound to be some programming in there as well, but little to none theoretical computer science compared to the other field.

    Computer science, on the other hand, deals mostly with what is and isn't computable, and how efficiently. This is at the heart of theoretical computer science, and there are also many theoretical fields that are concerned with something else - graphics, image processing, natural language processing, AI,...

    If there's one thing my CS degrees gave me after five years of study, it's disillusionment. The biggest problem with CS is the fact that it is not self-contained. Most of the interesting, hard stuff is built on mathematics, and throughout the degree you'll come to realize the simple truth that most of the stuff is really better done by mathematicians, partly because it was built by mathematicians. Simply because they have more math courses, practice, have solved more problems and were given more of a connected view of mathematics, not a cherry-picked collection of mostly discrete math that is just enough to get by.

    Computer science is also a relatively new field, and one that is rapidly developing. I think this is also the reason why the curriculum between different universities varies so much. Engineering, on the other hand, is an older discipline, and in my view, a much more stable one. It will probably give you a broader range of skills than CS, and it is much more hands-on.

    Regarding the AI, I assume you read this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence . Note that the field has its limits, so don't go into it with unrealistic expectations. And check the "Tools section" for the underlying math. The rest of the CS is exactly like this (which is why I think mathematicians are more suited for the job).

    EDIT: Shortened.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  4. Aug 6, 2010 #3
    Thank You very much Nonlinear... But I think things might be a little different here in India.Here there is Computer Science and engineering.It is an engineering degree.Although I don't know exactly but I think it might include a little of theoretical and much of engineering part.Your extensive reply did give me a lot to think about,but there is one thing I wud like to ask you and that is the scope of computer 'engineering' in space technology...
  5. Aug 6, 2010 #4
    Where I live, we do have a uni that offers exactly what you're describing, even though it is labeled a bit differently. They learn to design microprocessors and embedded devices, write device drivers, a bit of signal processing and such, but they also do some of the computer science as well - they have a course e.g. on computer graphics, AI, but they don't get to hear about some of the more fundamental things like what is or isn't computable in their undergrad.

    The fact that you end up having background in both hardware and some of the theory is quite useful, and the projects oftentimes involve designing some hardware piece as well, which is quite interesting.

    The final advice I'll give is to think about whether you enjoy working ON a computer, or WITH computers. These days people are using computers in math and physics as well, because they need to process some data, typeset their documents in latex, or run simulations. Computer * degrees generally require you work with computers, programming stuff, and oftentimes in more theoretical computer science degrees, pen and paper will be all you need for your "computation" (which probably won't be the case of the one you describe).

    EDIT: I forgot about the space technology stuff - I'd imagine that would deal a lot with communication and efficient coding techniques, or hardware designed for specific purposes. There may be applications of image processing as well, but to me this sounds like much more of an electrical/electronic engineering (or aerospace engineering) than anything else. Any processing of acquired data would be done on Earth where you have more computational power. I know a technical university where I live has a unit in the electronic eng department that does specifically this (i.e. hardware for long-distance communication).
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
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