Thursday, December 31, 2009

Computer Science vs. Software Engineering

I listened to SE-Radio Episode 149: Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science with Chuck Connell.

Interesting stuff...

The most insightful thing was that historically we put too much unrelated things into the same bucket:
  • Computer Science vs. Software Engineering
  • Algorithms, Cryptography, Compilers vs. Business Applications, Consumer Applications
  • Complexity Analysis, Correctness Proofs vs. Maintainability, Testability
  • Formal Specifications vs. Estimation
  • Language Syntax/Semantics vs. Design Patterns

  • More background is in Chuck Connells article on Dr.Dobb's. Including The bright line in computer science:
    This once again leads back to the question: What is software engineering?
  • Art?
  • Craftmanship?
  • Science?


    1. Sooo, sort of like physics is to engineering then..

    2. Kind of summarises my experience of the difference between university and industry. However, the same "problem" occurs in other disciplines, e.g. geography, where you have parts of your discipline that can be formally proved while others cannot because they include human activity. Nevertheless you can conclude facts from qualitative and/or quantitative studies. But you always have to be carefully under which circumstance you obtained your conclusion and state these circumstances carefully.

      btw. the fact that software engineering does not provide proofs for its topics is the source of many interesting blog posts ;)

    3. This is a great post. I’m glad it was bumped. Otherwise I would’ve missed these very useful information.



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