Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The scope of computer scientists

  1. Dec 18, 2011 #1
    Would you consider a computer scientist (someone with a PhD & doing research) as a traditional scientist? I mean, there's no rigorous method that defines computer science as a "science" in the proper sense that is guided by the scientific method of making hypotheses, gathering evidence, weighing evidence and adjusting hypotheses, and then finally establishing new natural laws or revising old ones based on evidence.

    Does it depend on the specific field? Maybe, a computer architect, dealing with circuits, could be considered an "electrical" scientist. Science usually corresponds with something physical or tries to describe nature. But, computer science attempts to manipulate, or even outwit, nature through the manipulation and transformation of data, encoded as 0s and/or 1s. Thus, computer scientists achieve their goal by mapping real world data through binary representation, essentially shifting around the 0 and 1 bits according to patterns or rules, and then mapping those new bits to new data to recognize patterns or understand trends of information. In this sense, I would say that computer science is more like mathematics, and even precedes natural science in fundamentality.

    I would probably say that computer scientists are not "real" scientists. The term "data-ologist," or "applied ontologist" seems more appropriate. Your thoughts?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2011 #2
    This relates to your overall theme that computer scientists are more mathematicians that scientists. It's not that the method isn't rigorous, it just doesn't follow the scientific method. It's more like the method used by mathematicians, where a conjecture is made and a proof is attempted to show it is a theorem.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook