"The big paradox is that the computer science revolution is just unfolding," Chazelle said. "Why, then, are students are running away from it; why is there this decline when the field has never been more exciting?"
Chazelle will be on the "Computer Science Behind Your Science" panel at AAAS on February 17. His presentation is titled "Why CS Theory Matters." In the following Q & A, Chazelle discusses the promise and potential of computer science.
What is computer science?
Most people think of computer science, if they think of it all, as being something useful -- the way that, say, people think of plumbing as being useful. And it is useful, obviously. But it is much more than that.
Computer science is not just about gaming, not just about the Internet. Computer science theory offers a profound window through which to view the world. Computing promises to be the most disruptive scientific paradigm since quantum mechanics. It will transform society in profound way.
Isn't computer science really just a stepchild of mathematics?
As the recent breakthroughs on Fermat's Last Theorem indicate, the field of mathematics has never been more fertile with new ideas. Mathematics is original and deep, but it does not force you to think differently. If a math giant from the past - someone like Gauss were to come back to Earth, he would have a lot of catching up to do but he would find that math is done much the same way that
Contact: Teresa Riordan