The information is modified from material in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics/Occupational Outlook Handbook

The title computer scientist can be applied to a wide range computer professionals who generally design computers and the software that runs them, develop information technologies, and develop and adapt principles for applying computers to new uses. Computer scientists are distinguished from other computer professionals by the higher level of theoretical expertise and innovation they apply to complex problems and the creation or application of new technology.

Computer scientists must be able to think logically and have good communication skills. They often deal with a number of tasks simultaneously; the ability to concentrate and pay close attention to detail is important. Although many computer specialists sometimes work independently, they often work in teams on large projects. They must be able to communicate effectively with computer personnel, such as programmers and managers, as well as with users or other staff who may have no technical computer background.

Computer scientists employed in industry may eventually advance into managerial or project leadership positions. Those employed in academic institutions can become heads of research departments or published authorities in their field. Computer professionals with several years of experience and considerable expertise in a particular subject area or application may find lucrative opportunities as independent consultants or choose to start their own computer consulting firms.

Technological advances come so rapidly in the computer field that continuous study is necessary to keep skills up to date. Continuing education is usually offered by employers, hardware and software vendors, colleges and universities, or private training institutions. Additional training may come from professional development seminars offered by professional computing societies.

Computing Science is one of the most rapidly developing scientific disciplines. Computing Science is a relatively young scientific discipline with the first modern computer being constructed only about forty-five years ago.


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Computing Science encompasses the study of computing systems with their components, communication networks, formal languages, analysis of algorithms, automata, artificial intelligence and a wide range of applications. The requirement for human-computer communication has given rise to the study of both natural and artificial languages for this purpose, as well as image processing and graphics. The study of intelligence is concerned with the challenging problem of programming computers to play games, prove theorems, converse with people, and generally do things that require human intelligence. Problems in organizing the large amounts of data for storage and fast retrieval has given impetus to data base designs and products. Communication networks dealing with data transmission, voice, images and video are also hot topics.

Computers are rapidly becoming part of our daily routine. They are encountered everywhere: in banks, in shops, at office desks, local restaurants and pubs. Computer literacy is becoming a must in today's highly technical world. They take pictures of other planets, they control traffic in the cities, they connect your phone calls, they check your tax returns, they control power stations whether nuclear, hydro, or coal based, they do computations for engineers. Computers assist the architect in designing your house. A cosmetician may use a computer to suggest makeup or a hairstyle for you. Many children can not imagine life without video games that are run by computers. The creation of the World Wide Web has increased communication from around the world through the use of a computer and has brought advertising to a whole new level. Every day life would be hard to imagine without the invention of this fascinating machine.

Many people can say that their job is in "computers", though very few of them have graduated from a Computing Science department at a university. An accountant can run a computerized, off-the-shelf accounting system in a company without being a computer specialist. Many young people become computer hackers without any university education. Why then would you study Computing Science at a university?

A university education in Computing Science is more than just the study of existing techniques for using computers. It is the study of the nature and techniques of problem solving. In Computing Science, we are particularly interested in those problems that are solvable by computation. Understanding computation requires a knowledge of not only hardware, software, many branches of mathematics and logic but also of many topicsnot usually associated with computers such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics and management skills.

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Jobs in computer sciences are expected to be the fastest growing through the year 2006. Employment of computing professionals is expected to increase much faster than average as technology becomes more sophisticated and organizations continue to adopt and integrate these technologies, making for plentiful job openings. Growth will be driven by very rapid growth in computer and data processing services. In addition, thousands of job openings will result annually from the need to replace workers who move into managerial positions or other occupations or who leave the labor force.

College graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, information science, or information systems should also enjoy very favorable prospects, particularly if they have supplemented their formal education with some level of practical experience. College graduates with non-computer science majors who have had courses in computer programming, systems analysis, and other data processing areas, as well as training or experience in an applied field, should be able to find jobs as system analysts. Those who are familiar with client/server environments, CASE tools and object oriented programming, Internet, Intranet, and multimedia technology will have an even greater advantage, as will individuals with significant networking, database, and systems experience.

Employers will continue to seek computer professionals who can combine strong programming and traditional systems analysis skills with good interpersonal and business skills.



International Online Conference on Computer Science. More details can be found at the Duke department of computer science web site at www.cs.duke.edu/ari/trapeze.


Duke University computer science researchers have developed a system for Internet communications at speeds higher than one billion bits - 1 gigabit - per second in a local area network (LAN) of personal computers.

This system essentially doubles the current speed at which data can be transferred over the fastest LANs with TCP/IP, the communications standard used for the Internet and the World Wide Web. It is 20,000 times faster than communication through a telephone modem.

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The system uses a special high-speed Myrinet LAN operating at Duke's computer science department. Duke's Myrinet system was supplied by Myricom Inc. of Arcadia, Calif., as part of an experimental project, funded by the National Science Foundation, to develop new techniques for high-speed communications.

This Myrinet network is itself rated at more than 1 gigabit. But system bottlenecks limit the rate at which data can move between the network and the computers connected to it, said Jeff Chase, Duke assistant computer science professor.

Using the fastest LANs now on the market, "you'll get about a half a gigabit per second through TCP," Chase said in an interview. However, by using the latest newly released Myrinet network cards together with their own modifications, the Duke team achieved speeds of 1.147 billion bits a second by mid-May, added Andrew Gallatin, a senior systems programmer within Duke's computer science department who works with Chase.

Other members of the Duke group include computer science graduate student Kenneth Yocum and Alvin Lebeck, also an assistant computer science professor.

"It's the first demonstration on public record of TCP/IP running faster than a gigabit per second, end-to-end, one host (network workstation) to another," Chase said. "What we have done is provide the software support that's needed to allow others to achieve similar speeds on other networks that will arrive in the future."

LANs are groups of computers that are wired together to allow them to exchange messages and data. They range in speed and complexity from commonplace office networks to the array of high-end Digital Alpha workstations currently connected by Myrinet in a glassed-in "fishbowl lab" in Chase's department.

Those machines and associated equipment are part of a larger Duke computer science testbed cluster funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Myricom and Intel Corp.

While the Myricom LAN is experimental and operates within a small space, the techniques developed there could eventually help computer users obtain more efficient access to larger scale networks, including a future version of the Internet, Chase said.

It might also mean that standard TCP/IP type software could be used for such cutting edge applications as wiring together individual desktop computers into a massively parallel supercomputer.