著名计算机科学家艾兹赫尔·戴克斯特拉曾经指出：“计算机科学并不只是关于计算机，就像天文学并不只是关于望远镜一样。”（"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes."）设计、部署计算机和计算机系统通常被认为是非计算机科学学科的领域。例如，研究计算机硬件被看作是计算机工程的一部分，而对于商业计算机系统的研究和部署被称为信息技术或者信息系统。然而，现如今也越来越多地融合了各类计算机相关学科的思想。计算机科学研究也经常与其它学科交叉，比如数学、工程学、认知科学和经济学等。
虽然最初很多人并不相信计算机可能成为科学研究的领域，但是随后的50年里也逐渐被学术界认可。IBM公司是那段时期计算机科学革命的参与者之一。在那段探索时期，IBM（International Business Machines的缩写）发布的IBM 704以及之后的IBM 709计算机被广泛使用。“不过，使用IBM电脑工作仍然是一件很沮丧的事情。如果你弄错了一条指令中的一个字母，程序将会崩溃，而你也得从头再来。”20世纪50年代后期，计算机科学学科還在发展階段，这種問題在当时是一件很常見的事情。
^Comer, D. E.; Gries, David; Mulder, Michael C.; Tucker, Allen; Turner, A. Joe; Young, Paul R. /Denning. Computing as a discipline. Communications of the ACM. 1989-01-01, 32 (1): 9–23. ISSN 0001-0782. doi:10.1145/63238.63239. Computer science and engineering is the systematic study of algorithmic processes-their theory, analysis, design, efficiency, implementation, and application-that describe and transform information.
^Wegner, P. Research paradigms in computer science. Proceedings of the 2nd international Conference on Software Engineering. San Francisco, California, United States: IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA. October 13–15, 1976. Computer science is the study of information structures
^Abelson, H.; G.J. Sussman with J. Sussman. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs 2nd. MIT Press. 1996. ISBN 978-0-262-01153-2. The computer revolution is a revolution in the way we think and in the way we express what we think. The essence of this change is the emergence of what might best be called procedural epistemology – the study of the structure of knowledge from an imperative point of view, as opposed to the more declarative point of view taken by classical mathematical subjects.
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Research evaluation for computer science, Informatics Europe report. Shorter journal version: Bertrand Meyer, Christine Choppy, Jan van Leeuwen and Jorgen Staunstrup, Research evaluation for computer science, in Communications of the ACM, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 31-34, April 2009.