Monday, June 8, 2009

The Creative Side of Computer Science

A lot of people assume that computer scientists are dangerously logical, to the point of not being at all creative. I beg to differ. Among my classmates, I've seen many talented musicians, artists, creative writers, and so on.

Of course, we aren't all that artistic. That's why I take pride in my own creative abilities. I've always been able to write well, winning short story contests as a kid. I am also a little better than the average person at graphics and design. I can't draw or paint, but I have a good eye for layout. That's probably why I'm also really getting into photography (check out my Flickr photostream if you want) and scrapbooking. I used to play saxophone in high school, and am itching to get back into it.

Another misconception is that art and computer science can't mix. This is probably related to the first assumption. But, again, I have to disagree! Because you can connect so many different things to computer science, you can be as creative as you like!

For example, if you love music, you could work on audio processing software, study how to tell if music is pleasing algorithmically, or figure out how to generate good music automatically.

Adore photography? I've always marveled at the level of processing happening right inside today's cameras. Although digital SLRs are generally the standard even for professional photographers, there's always room to improve image quality. Then there's software like Photoshop. There are so many opportunities for not only new and interesting effects, but for automating or helping with common tasks that are still mostly confusing, manual and sometimes tedious.

These are just a couple of examples of the creative side of computing. I didn't even get into the many ways to get creative when it comes to game development, but I'm sure you can imagine a few. The main point is that you don't have to replace your creative brain cells with logical ones to study in this field.


iosparkletree said...

Great post, Gail! I think that if more people understood this, we'd see more diversity in computer science!

Gail Carmichael said...

Definitely! I guess it's one of my life goals (at the moment) to show people that so they don't assume they won't be interested ;)

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