The Intellectual Landscape(s) of Computer Science

(see here for updates and continuation)

1 Feb 2002
Tom Whaley suggested that it could be interesting to teach a Spring term CS course looking at the question of who is doing what kinds of things on the frontiers of research in CS. I see this as, at least in part, an intellectual history inquiry and an empirical question, which can make use of such technologies as citation analysis (to track) and graphs (to represent linkages) --and addressing such ideas as ?how has AI evolved, and what has it spun off? and ?what's going on with the evolution of C or other language families? and so on. Some parts of the landscape of current research are closely tied to other disciplines (?what's going on in bioinformatics and other biological computing?)

Such tools as MathSciNet and Web of Science give us the potential to do some interesting empirical stuff that, so far as I know, nobody is doing... and provide a model for kindred analyses in other disciplines.
Here's the set that Annie returns for the KW search 'history and computer science':
Record 1 of 14
AUTHOR       Mirowski, Philip, 1951-
TITLE        Machine dreams : economics becomes a cyborg science / Philip 
IMPRINT      Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2002.
CALL NO.     HB71 .M636 2002.
Record 2 of 14
TITLE        Encyclopedia of computers and computer history / Ra{226}ul Rojas, 
               editor in chief.
IMPRINT      Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn, c2001.
CONTENTS     v. 1. A-L -- v. 2. M-Z.
CALL NO.     QA76.15 .E53 2001.
Record 3 of 14
AUTHOR       Hiltzik, Michael A.
TITLE        Dealers of lightning : Xerox PARC and the dawn of the computer 
               age / Michael Hiltzik.
IMPRINT      New York : HarperBusiness, c1999.
CALL NO.     QA76.27 .H55 1999.
Record 4 of 14
AUTHOR       Cohen, I. Bernard, 1914-
TITLE        Howard Aiken : portrait of a computer pioneer / I. Bernard Cohen.
IMPRINT      Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1999.
CALL NO.     QA76.2.A35 C65 1999.
Record 5 of 14
AUTHOR       Singh, Simon.
TITLE        The code book : the evolution of secrecy from Mary Queen of Scots
               to quantum cryptography / Simon Singh.
IMPRINT      New York : Doubleday, 1999.
CALL NO.     Z103 .S56 1999.
Record 6 of 14
TITLE        Software visualization : programming as a multimedia experience /
               edited by John Stasko ... [et al.] ; foreword by Jim Foley.
IMPRINT      Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1998.
CALL NO.     QA76.65 .S56 1998.
Record 7 of 14
TITLE        Talking nets : an oral history of neural networks / edited by 
               James A. Anderson and Edward Rosenfeld.
IMPRINT      Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1998.
CALL NO.     QA76.87 .T37 1998.
Record 8 of 14
AUTHOR       Mainzer, Klaus.
TITLE        Thinking in complexity : the complex dynamics of matter, mind, 
               and mankind / Klaus Mainzer.
IMPRINT      Berlin ; New York : Springer, c1997.
CALL NO.     Q175 .M257 1997.
Record 9 of 14
AUTHOR       Wilks, Yorick, 1939-
TITLE        Electric words : dictionaries, computers, and meanings / Yorick
               A. Wilks, Brian M. Slator, and Louise M. Guthrie.
IMPRINT      Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1996.
CALL NO.     QA76.9.N38 W55 1996.
Record 10 of 14
AUTHOR       Brown, C. Wayne, 1954-
TITLE        Graphics file formats : reference and guide / C. Wayne Brown and 
               Barry J. Shepherd.
IMPRINT      Greenwich, CT : Manning Publications, c1995.
CALL NO.     T385 .B777 1995.
Record 11 of 14
AUTHOR       Parsaye, Kamran.
TITLE        Intelligent database tools & applications : hyperinformation 
               access, data quality, visualization, automatic discovery / 
               Kamran Parsaye, Mark Chignell.
IMPRINT      New York : Wiley, c1993.
CALL NO.     QA76.9.D3 P3485 1993.
Record 12 of 14
TITLE        Database and expert systems applications : proceedings of the 
               international conference, Valencia, Spain, 1992 / A.M. Tjoa and
               I. Ramos, eds.
IMPRINT      Vienna ; New York : Springer-Verlag, c1992.
CALL NO.     QA76.9.D32 D363 1992.
Record 13 of 14
AUTHOR       Bolter, J. David, 1951-
TITLE        Writing space : the computer, hypertext, and the history of 
               writing / Jay David Bolter.
IMPRINT      Hillsdale, N.J. : L. Erlbaum Associates, c1991.
CALL NO.     Z52.4 .B65 1991.
Record 14 of 14
AUTHOR       Ceruzzi, Paul E.
TITLE        Reckoners : the prehistory of the digital computer, from relays 
               to the stored program concept, 1935-1945 / Paul E. Ceruzzi.
IMPRINT      Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1983.
CALL NO.     QA76.5 .C4164 1983.
...which is of course not exactly the same thing as the question with which we began.
We have terms like 'expert systems', 'AI', 'neural nets', and these get flung around with abandon. They would be interesting to follow as evolving semantic spaces (an Annie search for 'artificial intelligence' gets 382 hits... and a look at them turns up unknown and unused bits like the fact that we have online access to 1997- of The Knowledge Engineering Review. The oldest item in this set is
Anderson, Alan Ross, 1925- 
Minds and machines 
Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall [1964]
Science Library Q335.5 .A5 
An Annie search for 'neural networks' gets 81 hits, with this one as the oldest:
Arbib, Michael A 
The metaphorical brain 2 : neural networks and beyond / Michael A. Arbib 
Wiley, c1989
Science Library  Q310 .A7193 1989 
(and what has Michael Arbib done since then? <== and the point might be as much how might we answer that question as what is the answer, or what does that answer provoke us to ask next?)

To be sure, some of this is trivial, or leads to dead ends that aren't of any consequence for students of CS, but others are facets of the history and the evolution of the field and its neighbors.

3 Feb
A look at Shasha and Lazere's Out of Their Minds suggests that it might be a worthy text. Some followups:

Douglas Lenat
Expert systems and CYC and CyCorp home page, and CycFAQ. DARPA Project Summary (2001), SciAm Jan 2002 story, ACM SIGMOD page, Cyc: The Wright Manhattan Project for AI by Fritz Freiheit (Mar. 13th, 1995)
TITLE        Building expert systems / edited by Frederick Hayes-Roth, Donald 
               A. Waterman, Douglas B. Lenat.
IMPRINT      Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1983.
CALL NO.     QA76.9.E96 B84 1983.

TITLE        HAL's legacy : 2001{167}s computer as dream and reality / edited by 
               David G. Stork.
IMPRINT      Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1997.
CALL NO.     QA76 .H265 1997.
It's certainly the case that a lot of cutting-edge development in CS is in industry, rather than in academia.
Danny Hillis
Notes on the Connection Machine CM-1/CM-2, CiteSeer 223 citations, The Network Architecture of the Connection Machine CM-5 from CiteSeer...
Record 1 of 6
TITLE        Building expert systems / edited by Frederick Hayes-Roth, Donald 
               A. Waterman, Douglas B. Lenat.
IMPRINT      Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1983.
CALL NO.     QA76.9.E96 B84 1983.
Record 2 of 6
TITLE        HAL's legacy : 2001{167}s computer as dream and reality / edited by 
               David G. Stork.
IMPRINT      Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1997.
CALL NO.     QA76 .H265 1997.
Record 3 of 6
AUTHOR       Brockman, John, 1941-
TITLE        The third culture / by John Brockman.
IMPRINT      New York : Simon & Schuster, c1995.
CALL NO.     Q141 .B76 1995.
Record 4 of 6
AUTHOR       Hillis, W. Daniel.
TITLE        The pattern on the stone : the simple ideas that make computers 
               work / W. Daniel Hillis.
IMPRINT      New York : Basic Books, c1998.
CALL NO.     QA76.5 .H4918 1998.
Record 5 of 6
TITLE        "Most of the good stuff" : memories of Richard Feynman / editors,
               Laurie M. Brown, John S. Rigden.
IMPRINT      New York : American Institute of Physics, c1993.
CALL NO.     QC16.F49 A3 1993.
Record 6 of 6
TITLE        How things are : a science tool-kit for the mind / John Brockman 
               and Katinka Matson, editors.
IMPRINT      New York : W. Morrow, c1995.
CALL NO.     Q173 .H742 1995.
Danny Hillis now works for Disney
Turing Awards
ACM list, 1966-2000 and other awards

Computer Languages: genealogy
diagram and list with links.
another diagram, and one more
Retrocomputing Museum ("dedicated to programs that induce sensations that hover somewhere between nostalgia and nausea")

11 Feb
Some CS history books from Annie

Rodney Brooks (MIT AI Lab Director) and "The Deep Question" (A Talk With Rodney Brooks)

12 and 13 Feb
A good part of my contribution to this course deals with scientific communication and the various literatures which mirror the advancing frontier(s) of Computer Science. Often we want to find out whose work is being read and used by individuals and groups, where particular kinds of research and development are taking place, and how the interconnection between academic CS and industry actually works. CS as a field is different from most other sciences, because most employment for CS graduates is in industry, and most of the exciting applied work is therefore 'secret' and doesn't make it to literatures.

ResearchIndex or CiteSeer is the quintessential tool for finding CS material on the Web (and the underlying [free] code probably has a lot of other utility too). See Computer Science Directory for categories. The creators point out that "conference papers and technical reports play a very important role in computer science research", and note that a lot of this material is posted to the Web --where it escapes the formal citation indexing of Web of Science.

Digital Libraries and Autonomous Citation Indexing (IEEE Computer, Volume 32, Number 6, pp. 67-71, 1999. Copyright IEEE)

Computer Science Literature and the World Wide Web (Abby A. Goodrum, Katherine W. McCain, Steve Lawrence, C. Lee Giles

We analyze the computer science literature on the web and compare it to the literature indexed in the Science Citation Index (SCI). The web contains articles from throughout the research timeline, from technical reports and conference papers to journal articles and book chapters, whereas SCI focuses on journal articles. Analyzing the citation patterns of the articles, we find that journal articles and books dominate the most cited items from papers on the web and papers in SCI. However, we find that conference papers and technical reports play a very important role in computer science research, especially regarding access to the very latest research. Analysis of citations over time suggests...
Discovering Relevant Scientific Literature on the Web (Kurt Bollacker, Steve Lawrence, C. Lee Giles)

All-time most accessed documents in the ResearchIndex database as of December 2001, Most cited source documents in the ResearchIndex database as of November 2001, Most cited authors in Computer Science - November 2001, Most cited articles in Computer Science - November 2001 --and see NEC Research Institute home page

"...a collection of bibliographies of scientific literature in computer science from various sources, covering most aspects of computer science. The bibliographies are updated monthly from their original locations such that you'll always find the most recent versions here..." (browse categories)

December 2001 Communications of the ACM has a section of articles on "Global Applications of Collaborative Technology"

From the ACM Portal: ==> Guide ==> Computing Classification System ==> K. Computing Milieux ==> K2 History of Computing

Consider some CS departments:

There are some lists of CS departments that may be useful: YAHOO's list of CS Institutes, WWW Virtual Library of Computing

See also:

15 Feb
A bit of a digression into "Computational Science"

Graduate Programs in Computational Science (SIAM --see also SIAM Working Group on CSE Education Report)

Computational Science Education Project

CSEP is an electronic book for teaching Computational Science and Engineering. The intended audience are students in science and engineering at the advanced undergraduate level and higher. Tutorials for freely available networking and visualization software are included and have attracted a range of users, including high-school students and people from the commercial sector.

PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine)

...a software package that permits a heterogeneous collection of Unix and/or NT computers hooked together by a network to be used as a single large parallel computer. Thus large computational problems can be solved more cost effectively by using the aggregate power and memory of many computers. The software is very portable. The source, which is available free thru netlib, has been compiled on everything from laptops to CRAYs.

Biology WorkBench

...a revolutionary web-based tool for biologists. The WorkBench allows biologists to search many popular protein and nucleic acid sequence databases. Database searching is integrated with access to a wide variety of analysis and modeling tools, all within a point and click interface that eliminates file format compatibility problems.


Many research groups at medical schools and universities in the United States have projects in neuroscience involving studies of the brains of humans and animals in health and disease. The projects use a variety of experimental and imaging techniques and are focused at all scales from the molecular to the whole brain. For most studies, the sample sizes are small and restricted to specially chosen populations. What has never been attempted is the intelligent, directed cross-correlation of such studies. To do this, groups of neuroscientists must be ready to account for differences in technique and population focus and to overcome the challenges of accessing and sharing large datasets.

BIRN represents the first attempt to develop a "protocol" for this kind of collaborative research among neuroscientists and medical scientists. It depends on the new computational and networking technologies that have been developed to bring researchers together over the Internet, and it also depends on still newer technologies for federating data from multiple sources. It depends even more on the social integration of the scientific groups that will be sharing their data and, ultimately, making their collective results public. Thus BIRN is a test of a new mode of doing large-scale medical science.

COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE on the World Wide Web annotated index for computational neurobiology, focusing on compartmental modeling and realistic simulations of biological neural systems. One can locate modeling software and that for computational morphology, phase plane and spike train analysis, and web based neuroinformatics. There are links to major laboratories, researchers, conferences, education and funding for theoretical neurobiology.

Association for Computational Linguistics ("THE international scientific and professional society for people working on problems involving natural language and computation.")

12 April
Computing Research Repository (CoRR)