Freshman Seminar FMC1201

Is Computer Science Science?

The module asks whether computer science is science. On one hand, programming is to a certain degree an art and also a discipline of engineering, as the term software engineering says. On the other hand, there is also a systematic and scientific approach to computer science. It is the scientific exploration of what can be said about programming, properties of programs, information, quality and correctness of algorithms and so on. This seminar is dedicated to give an introduction in the scientific and theoretical background of computer science, following the book "Algorithmics - The Spirit of Computing" by David Harel with Yishai Feldman (which is available at the NUS Coop).


The lecturer is Frank Stephan from the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science of the National University of Singapore.
Frank Stephan's addresses are:

  (1) Department of Mathematics, National University of Singapore
      10 Lower Kentridge Road, S17, Singapore 119076
      Primary Office: S17#07-04, Telephone +65-6516-2759

  (2) School of Computing, National University of Singpore
      13 Computing Drive, Computing 2 (COM2), Singapore 117590
      Secondary Office: COM2#03-11, Telephone +65-6516-4246

The telefax in the main office of the Department of Mathematics
is +65-67795452

The email address is;
other email addresses are read less frequently, thus please use this one.

Time and Venue

In AY 2011/2012, the time of the seminar is each Thursday 16.00-18.00 hrs, with a tutorial added from 15.00-16.00 from week 2 onwards (except week 5); the venue is COM2#01-06 (School of Computing, Building 2, Level 1, Room 6).

In general, please see F. Stephan's main webpage for office hours and times available.

The programming language used will be Java Script, see and they can be downloaded with
onto an SoC Unix Account. There you can look at the page with an editor.