On Computing: The Fourth Great Scientific Domain

Front Cover
MIT Press, Nov 9, 2012 - Computers - 336 pages

A proposal that computing is not merely a form of engineering but a scientific domain on a par with the physical, life, and social sciences.

Computing is not simply about hardware or software, or calculation or applications. Computing, writes Paul Rosenbloom, is an exciting and diverse, yet remarkably coherent, scientific enterprise that is highly multidisciplinary yet maintains a unique core of its own. In On Computing, Rosenbloom proposes that computing is a great scientific domain on a par with the physical, life, and social sciences.

Rosenbloom introduces a relational approach for understanding computing, conceptualizing it in terms of forms of interaction and implementation, to reveal the hidden structures and connections among its disciplines. He argues for the continuing vitality of computing, surveying the leading edge in computing's combination with other domains, from biocomputing and brain-computer interfaces to crowdsourcing and virtual humans to robots and the intermingling of the real and the virtual. He explores forms of higher order coherence, or macrostructures, over complex computing topics and organizations. Finally, he examines the very notion of a great scientific domain in philosophical terms, honing his argument that computing should be considered the fourth great scientific domain.

With On Computing, Rosenbloom, a key architect of the founding of University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies and former Deputy Director of USC's Information Sciences Institute, offers a broader perspective on what computing is and what it can become.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Highly unusual: extensively uses a semiformal recursive notation for expressing implemented-by (/) and interacts-with () relations among the Physical, Life, Social, and Computing domains of science. E ... Read full review


1 The Computing Sciences
2 The Relational Approach
3 Implementation
4 Interaction
5 Relational Macrostructures and Analyses
6 Computing as a Great Scientific Domain
7 Conclusion

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Paul S. Rosenbloom is Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southern California and Project Leader at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies.

Bibliographic information