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The Princeton Companion to Mathematics by Imre Leader, June Barrow-Green, Timothy Gowers

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VII.05 The Mathematics of Algorithm Design

Jon Kleinberg

1 The Goals of Algorithm Design

When computer science began to emerge as a subject at universities in the 1960s and 1970s, it drew some amount of puzzlement from the practitioners of more established fields. Indeed, it is not initially clear why computer science should be viewed as a distinct academic discipline. The world abounds with novel technologies, but we do not generally create a separate field around each one; rather, we tend to view them as by-products of existing branches of science and engineering. What is special about computers?

Viewed in retrospect, such debates highlighted an important issue: computer science is not so much about the computer as a specific piece of technology ...

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