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Communications of the ACM


Why an Informatics Degree?

Indiana University informatics program

Diverse applications are offered in the informatics programs at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Courtesy of Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing

Isn't computer science enough?

The full text of this article is premium content


Antonio Costa

Dear profs. Groth and Mason,

I read with very much interest your article "Why an Informatics Degree?" on Communications of the ACM (2/10 Vol53 N2). In general, I agree with most of your opinions and vision about informatics as a consequence of the evolution of computing.

As a former Informatics degree director between 2002 and 2008 in the Porto Polytechnic School of Engineering (ISEP, 6200 students, 420 teachers), I disagree that in Europe "computer science is referred to as informatics". In Portugal and most European countries (whose context I know about) informatics is essentially what you describe in your article, with regional but minor variations.

In 2005 the Informatics degree in ISEP was subjected to an extensive curricular revision mostly based on the ACM Computing Curricula documents (overview and specific reports: CS, CE, SE, IS and IT - and the CDIO Initiative ( )in which the gap between informatics and computer science was further increased and clarified. The new
Informatics degree started in 2006/07 and is running very successfully, with approx. new 250 students enrolling each year.

You can get further details about our current Informatics degree (1400 total students enrolled in 2009/10) at ISEP in the CDIO Knowledge Library

In most European countries Informatics degrees are flourishing and attracting more and more students. In the opposite, Computer Science degrees are getting less and less students...

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