Blurring the lines between science and engineering- identity crisis in Informatics?

The European Computer Science Summit’s last day panel discussion went more deeply in to the subject of the conference and raised old questions and controversies among Computer scientists. Wendy Hall advocated computer scientists not to think of themselves as a 'service science' building applications to enable other sciences’ work and encouraged the audience to think hard of what computer scientists offer in terms of thought process to the world. The new concepts in CS such as parallelism can be used in cognitive science, game theory and others and a proper recognition of CS as a science needs to be taught early on at the high school level.

Still, CS continues to have ‘a bad rep’ or at least computer scientists continue to think of themselves as ‘second-class scientists’. Some in the field believe there will be no successful interactions with other colleagues and scientists until CS is positioned as as much of a science as others and this implies uniting the community and presenting a coherent interface to the rest of the world. Finally, as Wendy Hall’s closing remarks pointed, it also implies defining when a new discipline begins and when we are simply mixing together 1 or 2 disciplines to solve various aspects of a problem. If a multidisciplinary collaboration is to be fruitful, it has to be taken at the educational level and given a long-term commitment. Words widely repeated during the conference even when referring to multi-disciplinary research.

Whilst aware of the need to work collaboratively; many computer scientists are afraid that this will distil the importance and identity of their already misrepresented field. What do you believe will happen when mixing CS with other disciplines?

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