Computer science goes multidisciniplinary in NYT

Interesting article in the NYT/IHT about computer scientists now moving forward by including other fields in their domain.

Jamika Burge is heading back to Virginia Tech this fall to pursue a doctorate in computer science, but her research is spiced with anthropology, sociology, psychology, psycholinguistics - as well as observing cranky couples trade barbs in computer instant messages. (...)

"If you have only technical knowledge, you are vulnerable," said Thomas Malone, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. "But if you can combine business or scientific knowledge with technical savvy, there are a lot of opportunities. And it's a lot harder to move that kind of work offshore." Â Burge's research, for example, is in a hot niche called computer-supported cooperative work, which studies the ways people use technology to communicate and collaborate in work groups and social networks. She spent the summer as a research intern for IBM, and her job prospects seem bright. Â On university campuses, the newest technologists have to become renaissance geeks. They have to understand computing, but they also typically need deep knowledge of some other field, from biology to business, Wall Street to Hollywood. And they tend to focus less on the tools of technology than on how technology is used in the search for scientific breakthroughs, the development of new products and services, or the way work is done.

Why do I blog this well I feel I am part of this trend. It's funny to see that this does not go without problems:

Of course, such multidisciplinary shifts are still predicated on a solid grounding in computing. And there are worries that too few students are getting a technical education. While the need for technical expertise is growing, the number of students choosing computer science as a major is 39 percent lower than in the autumn of 2000, the last of the dot-com bubble years, according to the Computing Research Association. Â This trend has troubled Bill Gates, the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, who traveled to several elite universities in a campaign-style tour in the spring of 2004 to stir up enthusiasm for computer science.