In most areas of science there are a few basic underlying laws that inform the rest of the study of a given subject. Physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering all have these basic equations. What are the basic equations in computer science? Or is computer science baseless?Neville-Neil goes on to describe data structures as one of the foundations of computer science. John Dupuis led a discussion on his blog.
Computer science does have a problem of focus. What we theorists do can differ considerably from AI and operating systems. Some machine learning people might list Bayes rule as a fundamental equation.
The "base" of a field are not a set of equations but of principles. After all what are the basic equations of biology?
How about computational complexity?
- The Turing Machine: A robust formal model of computation.
- The idea that we measure resources as a function of the problem size (from the Hartmanis-Stearns paper from which our field gets its name).
- Our Goal: Understanding the power and limitations of efficient computation.