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Posted By Peter Bentley
I've been commissioned to write a new popular science book, which currently has the working title Digital Lives. It's about computer science and its impact on society and will be on the shelves early 2012. The contract has been signed with the publisher and my research has begun. To begin with, I am asking the following question: "What is your personal definition of computer science?" I'd be grateful for your own views - please add to the comments below. Here are a few answers I've had so far:

If it is green or it wiggles it is Biology. If it stinks it is Chemistry. If it does not work it is Physics and if it is pretentious it is Computer Science.

The art of providing an algorithmic solution for a problem is computer science

Computer Science is the science of how to design & build systems that are fit for purpose, value for money, and improve individual & collective well-being.

Although there are elements of scientific method in the study of computer science, it is not inherently a science: it is a design discipline, with a focus on designing effective systems that support people in their activities. That includes all the theories and practical developments to deliver underpinning technologies that make up those systems.

Computer science is about the discovery and creation of what can be computed, what should be computed, and how to do so efficiently.

Computer Science is a set of theories and applications around a constructivist tinker-toy (Meccano you would say) medium which uses some mathematical formalisms and engineering practices but not rigorously applied or testable with the scientific method.

Computer science explores compositional and constructive approaches to problem- solving, often based on the application of operational rules and structures that are capable of automatic execution, and often by a machine with little or no human intervention.

Computer Science is a science which helps us define our tomorrow by investigating today's interplay between man and machine within different socio-technical contexts.

Computer Science is what a Computer Scientist does.

The only distinctive intellectual contribution of Computer Science in its own right is the application programming interface (API) - the idea that the world is made up of formal systems with formal interfaces, and the only way to achieve your goals in the world is to work out how to squeeze your goals into the language that the APIs permit.

The science of computing is different from physical sciences, which attempt to describe natural phenomena by use of discrete laws, formulae or principles; computer science tries to improve the efficiency or quality of processes by speeding up problem solving, making simulations more realistic and fine-grained, and making representations more dynamic and manageable.

Computer science is the art of constructing utility in the face of non-computability.

Computer Science uses innovative technology to tackle unsolved scientific challenges and turns new scientific discoveries into life-changing technologies.