Growing Influence of Computer Science on the Physical and Social Sciences

Simons Foundation chooses U.C. Berkeley for Computing Center  for  research:

the growing influence of computer science on the physical and social sciences. An interdisciplinary array of scientists will explore the mathematical foundations of computer science and attack problems in fields as diverse as health care, astrophysics, genetics and economics.

Part science and part engineering, computer science has long been viewed warily by scientists in other disciplines. But that is changing, not only because the computer has become the standard scientific instrument but also because “computational thinking” offers new ways to analyze the vast amounts of data now accessible to scientists.

This new approach — what researchers call the “algorithmic” or “computational” lens — is transforming science in much the way the microscope and telescope did.

Computers, Big Data, Distributed Software Applications are the new tools of Science. We can see new types of applications, far beyond the traditional data processing and automation applications used by businesses.

Several factors contribute towards this trend:

  1. A growing array of sensors
  2. Mobile devices which also act as sensors as well as data collection devices
  3. Touch computing lowering the barriers of adoption of tablets and mobile devices
  4. Technologies for processing Big Data
  5. Analytics and Visualization techniques
  6. AI and Machine Intelligence will increasingly play a role too

Applications and Research tend to co-evolve. We can expect to see a lot of exciting new findings from this and other similar efforts.