- The Turing Award for 2009 was given recently to Chuck Thacker LINK. See here. He developed the first modern PC.
- The Alan T. Waterman award was given to Subhash Khot. See here. He formulated the Unique Game Conjecture and has proven many consequences of it.
These two award recipients demonstrate the vast variety there is within computer science. I suspect that these two people, one very practical, one very theoretical, have very different mindsets. The most striking is that in theory we have PROOF as our... proof that something is true (I can't even escape using the word!). In practical things the proof is in the pudding.
There is much less variety within Mathematics. All (well... most) mathematicians have proof as their criteria of truth. They may not understand each others problems and interests but they understand the type of problems each other works on.
Physics has two campus- theorists and experimentalists. But I get the impression they talk to each other and understand each other. While this is true in some parts of computer science (crypto and bio-comp come to mind) it is also often not true. (If I am wrong about Physicists let me know.)
Consider the following statements, both probably exaggerated.
- In a math department any professor can teach any undergraduate class.
- In a computer science department it is NOT the case that every professor could PASS every undergraduate class.