The Big Ideas in Computing
(and how they are relevant to eHumanities)
“We have to think of computation as a principle and computers (only) as the tool”
“There is something much deeper to computing than simply programming, chips, and networks”
If we take these two quotes from famous computer scientist Prof. Peter Denning seriously, we have to face the question: what are the “principles of computing”? When asked, most of us could easily mention a few Big Ideas in physics. But most of us find it much harder (if at all possible) to come up with some Big Ideas in Computing (and no, I don’t mean things like “Facebook” or “email”).
In this talk, I will propose a set of “Big Ideas” that underly the science of computing, I will argue why each of these ideas is foundational, I will illustrate each of them with examples, and I will discuss how each of these Big Ideas in Computing are relevant to e-Humanities.
Frank van Harmelen is a professor in Knowledge Representation & Reasoning in the Computer Science department (Faculty of Science) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is also scientific director of The Network Institute.
Jacqueline Hicks (Elite Network Shifts project) and Corina Koolen (Riddle of Literary Quality project) will start off the discussion by offering their perspectives on Professor van Harmelen’s talk, and its implications from, respectively, political science/Indonesian studies and literary studies.