Computer Science

Division of Science and Mathematics

Computer science is a rapidly evolving discipline, born in the mid-twentieth century with roots in mathematics, logic, and engineering. Computing has become a necessary tool in nearly every area of human endeavor: critical to our workplace production, to our communication, and a means to play and to express ourselves artistically. Regardless of what computer science seems to be at the beginning of a four year course of study, both the discipline itself and the student's understanding of it will have changed substantially by the end. However, certain themes endure.

Computer science deals with problems: identifying those that are solvable in a computing environment, developing and applying appropriate algorithms for their solution, and dealing computationally with their complexity. Frequently these problems appear in the midst of incomplete, contradictory, and changing information. Indeed, much of computer science is devoted to creating software solutions to problems. Software development and computing in general rely on theory, on formalism, on abstraction, and on principles from engineering, but require more.

Computer scientists must be able to apply their own knowledge and understanding of how to solve problems computationally to situations involving both diverse people and subject matters. Software is used in human systems and must be built for humans, and so computer scientists must learn how to accomplish this. Powerful computational tools are as subject to abuse and social side effects as are physical tools and computer scientists must understand the broader role and implications of their work.

One of the benefits of gaining this technical competence in a liberal arts setting is the opportunity to develop sound communication skills. And while a strong classroom foundation in the fundamentals is essential, the rewards of internships, summer jobs, and independent projects can also be profound. Upon graduation most majors have entered professional positions where they have been very successful, while others have first pursued graduate study in computing or other disciplines.

Faculty

Michael Bradshaw (chair), Thomas Allen, Alex McAllister, David Toth

Student Representative

Eric Murrell, Jordan Turley

Computer Science Courses

Course Descriptions