Many computing folks highlight the need for mathematical
thinking within the discipline
Industry often publicizes the need for employees to
have strong skills in rigorous thinking, careful analysis
Computing Curricula 1991 and 2001 from IEEE-CS and ACM cite
theory [from mathematics] as one of the three basic processes
of the discipline of computer science
Formal problem-solving techniques a mainstay of engineering
Some computer scientists argue that software engineering cannot be
a legitimate engineering discipline without a rigorous mathematical
foundation
Pedagogy Focus Group 2 on Supporting Courses for Computing
Curriculum 2001 stressed the need for two semesters of
discrete mathematics, plus a follow-up mathematics course, for
all computer science majors
Work on formal methods (by C.A.R.Hoare) received Queen's Award for
Technological Achievement in 1990 for
producing results far better and faster than less
rigorous techniques
Practice Often Quite Different
Formal methods often shunned by industry as impractical or too costly
Commercial software often released with many errors
An early release of Microsoft Windows 2000 was reported to have
60,000 errors, including 28,000 that were likely to be "real"
problems
The formalists complain, "We know how to produce high
quality software; industry just does not apply the
known methodology"
Some popular methodologies, such as Extreme Programming,
seem particularly non-rigorous
The Curricula 2001 Task Force cut the mathematics requirement
to 2 courses (with just one semester of mathematics), so
students would not be overwhelmed
Computing programs often keep mathematics requirements to a
minimum to attract and retain students
Mathematicians and computing folks collaborate nicely at some
institutions, but cannot agree on goals and content at other
schools
Job ads for computing personnel rarely mention rigor,
analysis, and formal methods; and recruiters rarely
ask
General citizenry (at least in US) often poor at mathematics,
but feel good about it
("I never could do math" is ok;
but you never hear, "I never
could write an English sentence")