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Have you ever wondered what makes your iPod work right? Or your Wii? Or how the cash registers at the market or department store keep the inventory correct? Or how the TV meteorologists get their weather maps to predict tomorrow’s temperatures? The pervasive use of computers – whether to generate real-looking alien creatures or human-like animals in movies or to prevent computer viruses from destroying your hard drive – is a reality in the contemporary world.
Unlike the common perception after the “dot-com bust,” there are plenty of jobs in the
CS graduates don’t necessarily spend their lives in front of a terminal endlessly writing programs. Programmers do that work. Computer scientiests, with their strong foundation in mathematics and theory, often get jobs focusing on research and development, rather than on implementation. They deal with theory, problems, and issues that will not necessarily become outdated with new hardware or software.
All computer science majors learn about Data Structures (i.e., the ways data can be stored), Algorithms, and Operating Systems, and can take elective courses in Automata and Formal Languages (i.e., abstract machines and languages), Numerical Analysis (i.e., the study of getting accurate answers to numerical problems efficiently), Cryptography, Graphics, and other areas. They can also study Graph Theory to learn how to use graphs to determine minimum paths for network connections! At Santa Clara University, they can specialize in studying “cryptography and security.” They learn how to answer computer-related questions such as: Why does one sorting method work better than another? How does one get 100 digit accuracy when the hardware only gives 14 digits? What can a programming language do or not do? What is the mathematics that enables one to transmit data securely? What is the mathematics I need to rotate a 3-dimensional image so that it looks “real” from any perspective? How do people use computation in various scientific fields (“computational science”)?
The Santa Clara Valley is home to computer-related companies such as Apple, HP, Google, Yahoo, IBM, eBay, Adobe (of “Abode Acrobat” fame), McAfee (of AntiVirus software fame), and Palm (of Palm Pilot fame). Numerous
If you want to study about computing while receiving a well-rounded education in Santa Clara's College of Arts and Sciences (with a program providing enough electives for a possible minor or courses in other fields), consider majoring a Computer Science.† We hope you join us and learn about the foundations, as well as some of the many applications, of the fast-paced field of computing!*See computingcareers.acm.org, and “Point/Counterpoint: Technology Curriculum for the Early 21st Century,” in Communications of the ACM, July 2008 [v 51, no 7], pp 27—32.
† Students specifically interested in business applications of computers can study Information Science in the