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Most science and engineering fields are not intrinsically defined by the use of
computers or computation--but computers and computation are becoming more and
more important to enable scientific and engineering progress. Computational
methods provide a powerful means for investigating scientific problems or
achieving engineering design objectives. Computer science is a distinguished
discipline in the sense that it is centrally concerned with questions that
address issues of computation, e.g., the design and analysis of algorithms,
the development of computer networking technology, the study of parallel
computer architectures, or the analysis of algorithm complexity.
The Committee interprets CS&E as the field concerned with the
development, analysis, and utilization of computational methods
for practical science and engineering problems.
The rapidly increasing importance of CS&E is due to the widespread and growing
realization that computation can greatly augment or replace some of the
traditional means for scientific investigation and engineering design.
Computation is now widely available throughout the physical sciences
and engineering, and it can provide a relatively inexpensive alternative for
traditional scientific investigation, i.e., theoretical and experimental
investigation. Computation is not just a relatively
inexpensive alternative, but it also provides a third distinct mode of investigation
(adding to theory and experimentation). Computation can also lead to insights
that are difficult or impossible to gain otherwise.
The massive amounts of data being produced
cause additional problems: How to organize these massive
amounts of data? How to ``mine'' and analyze them? How to define what to look
for in the data and how to visualize them?
Ideally, a person in CS&E should be focused on at least one specific field
utilizing computational methods, and should be active in that field or closely
follow the computational problems and activities in that field. Equally
important, that person should make substantial contributions to the development,
analysis, or application of computational methods that benefit that field.
Many CS&E fields can have impact on and relationships with several
application areas. This, for example, is the case with visualization, which,
broadly speaking, is concerned with the development of rendering technology
for the analysis of scientific and
engineering data. The same is true for a variety of other CS&E fields
concerned with the development of algorithmic methods that are applicable
to a large number of applications.
CS&E is much broader than the traditional numerical-based computations,
which are of fundamental interest in *scientific computing.*
CS&E methods are not exclusively numerical, and they are not
necessarily based on ``deep mathematics.'' CS&E
also overlaps with computer science, but it differs from it in the sense
that a strong connection to an application area is a ``must'' for CS&E.
Many computer science departments support research and education
in CS&E fields, which, for example, includes the study of
scientific computing libraries, data visualization, or methods simplifying
parallel computing for specific application domains.

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*2000-09-11*