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Computer Science Overview - Preparation - Specialty Areas - Day In The Life - Earnings - Employment - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations

Specialty Areas
Algorithms and Theory - Artificial Intelligence - Architecture, Parallel Computing and Systems - Bioinformatics and Computational Biology - Database and Information Systems - Graphics, Visualization and Human-Computer Interface - Systems and Networking - Programming Languages, Formal Systems, and Software Engineering - Scientific Computing

Algorithms and Theory
Research in this area focuses on the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures for problems arising in several areas of computer science, including automatic software verification, computational geometry, data mining, and machine learning.

Artificial Intelligence
This specialty area focuses on a broad range of topics that include knowledge representation, learning, vision, reasoning, robotics, information systems, and planning. Application areas include molecular biology, manufacturing, control theory, and scheduling.

Architecture, Parallel Computing and Systems
Those focusing on the specialty area of architecture develop hardware designs, programming languages, and their compilers for next-generation computers and computing components.  The specialty area of parallel computing area focuses on projects of varying size and investigates the software aspects of computation on computers composed of multiple processors.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Research in this area includes developing efficient and scalable algorithms for biomolecular simulation and applying data mining, statistical machine learning, natural language processing, and information retrieval to analyze and mine all kinds of biological data, including DNA sequences, protein sequences and structures, microarray data, and biology literature, for the purpose of facilitating biology discovery.

Database and Information Systems
Individuals working in this area would conduct fundamental and cutting-edge research in databases, data mining, web mining, information retrieval, and natural language processing. Current areas of focus might include data integration, exploring and integrating the "Deep Web;" schema matching; security; mining data streams and sequential and semi-structured data; operating systems support for storage systems; text retrieval and mining; bio-informatics; database support for high performance computing; and top-k query processing.

Graphics, Visualization and the Human Computer Interface
Graphics and visualization research includes modeling and animation of natural phenomena, computational topology, graphics hardware utilization, image based rendering, implicit surfaces, mesh processing and simplification, procedural modeling and texturing, shape modeling, surface parameterization, and visibility processing. Human-Computer Interface research involves user interface tools that better support early design tasks, systems and environments that help users maintain information awareness, tools for multimedia authoring and design, interfaces that foster social interaction, and, more generally, human-computer interaction.

Systems and Networking
Networking and distributed systems group research includes a broad range of topics that include mobile systems, wireless protocols, ad-hoc networks, Quality of Service management, multimedia networking, peer-to-peer networking, routing, network simulations, active queue management, and sensor networks.

Operating system research focuses on distributed resource management, management of ubiquitous computing environments, reflective middleware, middleware "meta-operating systems," object-oriented operating system design, user interfaces that allow single users to interact with multi-computers, peer-to-peer operating system services, and context-sensitive distributed file systems, power management for data centers, file/storage systems, autonomic computing, system support for software robustness, and system support for databases.

Security research includes dynamic security architectures; security for active networks; privacy, authentication, authorization, access control, and trust in ubiquitous computing environments that have mobile users; authentication in sensor networks; specification and validation of security access control policies; simulation of network security problems and solutions including denial of service; and next generation phone security.

Real-time and embedded systems research areas include open real-time systems QoS driven real-time scheduling and communication protocols, integrated design of controllers and real-time schedulers, the integration between real-time, fault tolerant and security protocols, and robust dynamic real-time architecture for networked devices and smart spaces.

Programming Languages, Formal Systems,
and Software Engineering

Those working in this specialty area study the design and implementation of computer languages, with the goal of improving both programmer productivity and program quality. The topics of study range from abstract theories of computer languages to practical questions about the use and implementation of high-level languages.

Scientific Computing

Individuals working in the specialty area of scientific computing conduct research on the development and analysis of numerical techniques for approximating mathematical models of physical systems and on algorithms for solving the resulting equations on high performance computer systems. Specific scientific and engineering applications considered include biological molecular dynamics, materials science, semiconductor simulation, astrophysics, and the design of solid propellant rockets.

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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