Underlying our approach to this subject is our conviction that "computer science" is not a science and that its significance has little to do with computers. The computer revolution is a revolution in the way we think and in the way we express what we think. The essence of this change is the emergence of what might best be called procedural epistemology-the study of the structure of knowledge from an imperative point of view, as opposed to the more declarative point of view taken by classical mathematical subjects. Mathematics provides a framework for dealing precisely with notions of "what is". Computation provides a framework for dealing precisely with notions of "how to".
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APAHarold Abelson Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=underlying-our-approach-to-this-subject-is-our-conviction-that-computer-science-is-not-science-that-its-significance-has-little-to-do-with-computers-the-computer-revolution-is-re
ChicagoHarold Abelson Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=underlying-our-approach-to-this-subject-is-our-conviction-that-computer-science-is-not-science-that-its-significance-has-little-to-do-with-computers-the-computer-revolution-is-re, accessed .
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We are about to study the idea of a computational process. Computational processes are abstract beings that inhabit computers. As they evolve, processes manipulate other abstract things called data. The evolution of a process is directed by a pattern of rules called a program. People create programs to direct processes. In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells. A computational process is indeed much like a sorcerer's idea of a spirit. It cannot be seen or touched. It is not composed of matter at all. However, it is very real. It can perform intellectual work. It can answer questions. It can affect the world by disbursing money at a bank or by controlling a robot arm in a factory. The programs we use to conjure processes are like a sorcerer's spells. They are carefully composed from symbolic expressions in arcane and esoteric programming languages that prescribe the tasks we want our processes to perform. A computational process, in a correctly working computer, executes programs precisely and accurately. Thus, like the sorcerer's apprentice, novice programmers must learn to understand and to anticipate the consequences of their conjuring. Even small errors (usually called bugs or glitches) in programs can have complex and unanticipated consequences.
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