Math and Science In Your Life

Science, Math and Technology Resources at Empire State College

Archive for the ‘Computer Science/Information Systems’ Category

Computer Science/Information Systems

On-line Resources: Computer Science/Information Systems

Computer scientists like to think about what they call “hard problems”. Hard problem are those problems that a computer can’t solve in a reasonable amount of time, say a few billion years. Surprisingly these kinds of questions have everyday implications. The data encryption scheme used to protect private communications on the Internet is based on the difficulty of finding the prime factors of really big numbers, say a number with 200 digits. Given enough time, any number can be factored using the Sieve of Eratosthenes (and there are much faster methods as well). But factoring our 200 digit number, even using the fastest methods, would take something like 300 years on a standard desktop computer.

We mention this because providing a guide to Internet resources in for computer science and information systems feels like a “hard problem”. There may only be tens of thousands of good resources in these topic areas, but it feels like there are many more. And finding one really good resource commonly leads to a dozen others. There’s only so much time.

Spotlight
TED video thumb   A multi-touch computer interfaceComputer science is not just about finding ways to factor big numbers really fast (though that could bring you fame and fortune), some of things that computer scientists work on fun and interesting stuff. In this TED video, Jeff Han demonstrates a new way for people to interact with computers that brings gasps and cheers from the assembled audience.