Is computer science considered to be a science?
Yes. Today's CS is based on modern mathematics thus itself has characters that can be identified as science. But CS is a very special kind of science. While the applied theory of cs so far is mathematically valid, I don't feel like putting cs together with sciences like physics, chemistry, biology...First, strictly speaking, cs deals only with mathematics(algorithms), especially discrete mathematics, it doesn't care how the mathematics related to the real world at all. But the science of nature has to observe the real world. Then, in 1936 Church and Turing made the foundation of the modern computing's model. From today's point of view, to some extent their theory is kinda too "wide"( almost all problems we deal with lie in the set of "NP Complete Problems", a very productive developer doesn't use the NP theory all the time, rather very very rarely(if you work at an academical research centre then it's another story) ) or too "narrow" ( it cannot rule the other ways of computing, say, bio-computing, quantum- computing which are being developed today), so, for the matter of the influence/directing to the real-world practice, compare Newton's laws to Church-Turing theory, you see the difference. Anyway it's really great of Church and Turing that they found out a way in the world of math for us to make computing efficient.
many computer science programs require one to take science courses that are geared for science majors.
I think those science courses are for applying of the cs. As I've said the pure cs deals only with math, boilt down, it only cares about:
1. This problem can be (efficiently) solved or not?
2. If yes, how to solve it efficiently in the sense of both room and time?
Then where does those "problems" mentioned above come? Real world. Science of nature might be the biggest source and I believe today also many economic problems. Being aware of the science of nature, then you are able to model the problems in a mathematical manner and make computer do the dirty numeric computing for you.
In my opinion, computer scientists are in fact mathematicans.
[ July 09, 2004: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]