Computer Science: Turning the Impossible into Reality

by Stephanie Nail

Computer science is the magic that turns seemingly impossible things into reality. Computing technology has introduced us to things unheard of just ten years ago, like self-driving cars, which are becoming more common as computer science research allows them to become smarter. During his guest lecture this summer, Dr. Mehran Sahami, who teaches in the Computer Science department at Stanford, emphasized the idea that computer science is the key to taking on the world’s biggest social problems. What makes innovation prominent is our desire and need for new technology.

In the second part of his guest lecture, Dr. Sahami shared how the computer science curriculum is set up at Stanford. With the idea that computer programming is not the end, but rather a means to solve a problem, the curriculum is set up to emphasize connections with other fields. Many new departments and fields have been created through the inclusion of computational components, such as computational economics and computational biology. Combining computer science methodology with other fields helps to create a bigger impact and allows students to work toward innovative solutions to some of today’s biggest social problems, including health, transportation, and energy.

As a final thought, Dr. Sahami warned that progress in the field of computer science should not be taken for granted, as there is a direct relationship between the high-tech economy and our current and future interest level in computer science.

Read more about this past summer’s Intensive Speaker Series: Computer Science event on our Summer Session calendar.