Lectio Magistralis: Computer Science versus Computational Science

  • Date May 22, 2018
  • Hour 4 pm
  • Room GSSI Auditorium
  • Speaker Thomas A. Henzinger (President of IST Institute of Science and Technology Austria)
  • Area Computer Science


Computational science is an analytic science, which uses computation to make sense of given artifacts, such as data produced by experiments and equations produced by theories. Computer science is a synthetic science, which builds artifacts that compute, including abstract artifacts such as algorithms and models of computation, and concrete artifacts such as hardware and software. Among the main organizing principles of computer science are execution, composition, and abstraction. They address the question of how complex artificial systems can be built from atomic units of computation (such as the switching of a transistor, the execution of a Java instruction, or the query of a database). 

We argue that fundamental ideas from computer science - including execution, composition, and abstraction - can contribute also to our understanding of complex natural systems.