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Richard Hamming

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The only generally agreed upon definition of mathematics is "Mathematics is what mathematician's do." [...]
In the face of this difficulty [of defining "computer science"] many people, including myself at times, feel that we should ignore the discussion and get on with doing it. But as George Forsythe points out so well in a recent article*, it does matter what people in Washington D.C. think computer science is. According to him, they tend to feel that it is a part of applied mathematics and therefore turn to the mathematicians for advice in the granting of funds. And it is not greatly different elsewhere; in both industry and the universities you can often still see traces of where computing first started, whether in electrical engineering, physics, mathematics, or even business. Evidently the picture which people have of a subject can significantly affect its subsequent development. Therefore, although we cannot hope to settle the question definitively, we need frequently to examine and to air our views on what our subject is and should become.
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*Hamming cites Forsythe, G.E., "What to do until the computer scientist comes", Am. Math. Monthly 75 (5), May 1968, p. 454-461.

 
Richard Hamming

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