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The term computing is synonymous with counting and calculating. Originally, people that performed these functions were known as computers. Today it refers to a science and technology that deals with the computation and the manipulation of symbols. "Computing" also refers to the operation and usage of computing machines, the electrical processes carried out within the computing hardware itself, and the theoretical concepts governing them (computer science).


The term computing has sometimes been narrowly defined, as in a 1989 ACM report on Computing as a Discipline[1]:

The discipline of computing is the systematic study of algorithmic processes that describe and transform information: their theory, analysis, design, efficiency, implementation, and application. The fundamental question underlying all computing is 'What can be (efficiently) automated?'

However, a broader definition is generally accepted, as illustrated by the 2005 joint report of the ACM and the IEEE, Computing Curricula 2005[2]:

In a general way, we can define computing to mean any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computers. Thus, computing includes designing and building hardware and software systems for a wide range of purposes; processing, structuring, and managing various kinds of information; doing scientific studies using computers; making computer systems behave intelligently; creating and using communications and entertainment media; finding and gathering information relevant to any particular purpose, and so on. The list is virtually endless, and the possibilities are vast.

The same report also recognizes that the meaning of computing depends on the context:

Computing also has other meanings that are more specific, based on the context in which the term is used. For example, an information systems specialist will view computing somewhat differently from a software engineer. Regardless of the context, doing computing well can be complicated and difficult. Because society needs people to do computing well, we must think of computing not only as a profession but also as a discipline.

In short, the concept of computing relates to human knowledge and activities which develop and use computer technologies.


Science and theory

  • Computer science
  • Theory of computation
  • Computational models
  • DBLP, as of July 2007, now lists over 910 000 bibliographic entries on computer science and several thousand links to the home pages of computer scientists
  • Scientific computing
  • Metacomputing



  • Computer
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer Hardware Design
  • Computer network
  • Computer system
  • History of computing hardware


Instruction-level taxonomies

After the commoditization of memory, attention turned to optimizing CPU performance at the instruction level. Various methods of speeding up the fetch-execute cycle include:

  • designing instruction set architectures with simpler, faster instructions: RISC as opposed to CISC
  • Superscalar instruction execution
  • VLIW architectures, which make parallelism explicit



  • Software engineering
  • Computer programming
  • Computational
  • Software patent
  • Firmware
  • Operating systems
  • Application Software
    • Databases
    • Geographic information system
    • Spreadsheet
    • Word processor
  • Programming languages
    • interpreters
    • compilers
  • Speech recognition


History of computing

  • History of computing hardware from the tally stick to the quantum computer
  • Punch Card
  • Unit record equipment
  • IBM 700/7000 series
  • IBM 1400 series
  • System/360
  • Early IBM disk storage
  • [1]


Business computing

  • Accounting software
  • Computer-aided design
  • Computer-aided manufacturing
  • Computer-assisted dispatch
  • Customer relationship management
  • Partner Relationship Management
  • Data warehouse
  • Decision support system
  • Electronic data processing
  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Geographic information system
  • Management information system
  • Material requirements planning
  • Strategic enterprise management
  • Supply chain management
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Utility Computing


Human factors

  • Accessible computing
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Human-centered computing


Computer network

Wired and wireless computer network

  • Types
    • Wide Area Network
    • Metropolitan Area Network
    • City Area Network
    • Town Area Network
    • Village Area Network
    • Rural Area Network
    • Local Area Network
      • Wireless Local Area Network
  • Mesh networking
  • Collaborative workspace
  • Internet
  • Network Management


Computing technology based wireless networking (CbWN)

The main of goal of CbWN is to optimize the system performance of the flexible wireless network.

  • Source coding
    • Codebook design for side information based transmission techniques such as Precoding
    • Wyner-Ziv coding for Cooperative wireless communications
  • Security
    • Dirty paper coding for cooperative multiple antenna or user precoding
  • Intelligence
    • Game theory for wireless networking
    • Cognitive communications
    • Flexible sectorization, Beamforming and SDMA
  • Software
    • Software defined radio (SDR)
    • Programmable air-interface
    • Downloadble algorithm: e.g., downloadble codebook for Precoding


Computer security

  • Cryptology - cryptography - information theory
  • Cracking - demon dialing - Hacking - war dialing - war driving
  • Social engineering - Dumpster diving
  • Physical security - Black bag job
  • Computer insecurity
  • Computer surveillance
  • defensive programming
  • malware
  • security engineering



Numeric data

  • integral data types - bit, byte, etc.
  • real data types:
    • Floating point (Single precision, Double precision, etc.)
    • Fixed point
    • Rational number
  • Decimal
    • Binary-coded decimal (BCD)
    • Excess-3 BCD (XS-3)
    • Biquinary-coded decimal
  • representation: Binary - Octal - Decimal - Hexadecimal (hex)
  • Computer mathematics - Computer numbering formats -


Character data

  • storage: Character - String - Plain text
    • representation: ASCII - Unicode - Multibyte - EBCDIC (Widecharacter, Multicharacter) - Fieldata - Baudot


Other data topics

  • Data compression
  • Digital signal processing
  • Image processing
  • Indexed
  • Data management
  • Routing



  • Punch card
  • Key punch
  • Unit record equipment


Classes of computers

  • Analog computer
  • Calculator
  • Desktop computer
  • Desktop replacement computer
  • Digital computer
  • Embedded computer
  • Home computer
  • Laptop
  • Mainframe
  • Minicomputer
  • Microcomputer
  • Personal computer
  • Portable computer
  • Personal digital assistant (aka PDA, or Handheld computer)
  • Programmable logic controller or PLC
  • Server
  • Supercomputer
  • Tablet PC
  • Video game console
  • Workstation


Companies - current
  • Apple
  • Avaya
  • Dell
  • Compaq :)
  • Fujitsu
  • Gateway Computers
  • Groupe Bull
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Hitachi, Ltd.
  • Intel Corporation
  • IBM
  • Lenovo
  • Microsoft
  • NEC Corporation
  • NetCB
  • Novell
  • Panasonic
  • Red Hat
  • Silicon Graphics
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Unisys


Companies - historic

  • Acorn, bought by Olivetti
  • Bendix Corporation
  • Burroughs Corporation, merged with Sperry to become Unisys
  • Compaq, bought by Hewlett-Packard (but HP is still making Compaq computers)
  • Control Data
  • Cray
  • Data General
  • Digital Equipment Corporation, bought by Compaq, in turn bought by Hewlett-Packard
  • Digital Research - a software company for the early microprocessor-based computers
  • English Electric
  • Ferranti
  • General Electric, computer division bought by Honeywell, then Bull
  • Honeywell, computer division bought by Bull
  • ICL
  • Leo
  • Lisp Machines, Inc.
  • Marconi
  • Nixdorf Computer, bought by Siemens
  • Olivetti
  • Osborne
  • Packard Bell
  • Prime Computer
  • Raytheon
  • Royal McBee
  • RCA
  • Scientific Data Systems, sold to Xerox
  • Siemens
  • Sinclair Research, created the ZX Spectrum, ZX80 and ZX81
  • Sperry, which bought UNIVAC, and later merged with Burroughs to become Unisys
  • Symbolics
  • Varian Data Machines, a division of Varian Associates which was bought by Sperry
  • Wang




  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Association for Survey Computing (ASC)
  • British Computer Society (BCS)
  • Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)
  • Computer Measurement Group (CMG)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), in particular the IEEE Computer Society
  • Institution of Electrical Engineers
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)


Standards bodies

  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)


Open standards

  • Apdex Alliance -- Application Performance Index
  • Application Response Measurement (ARM)

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