A difference engine: computing the solution to a polynomial function
Computer laboratory, Moody Hall, James Madison University, 2003
A rack of servers from 2006

Computing is any activity that uses computers. It includes developing hardware and software, and using computers to manage and process information, communicate and entertain. Computing is a critically important, integral component of modern industrial technology. Major computing disciplines include computer engineering, software engineering, computer science, information systems, and information technology.


The ACM Computing Curricula 2005[1] defined "computing" as follows:

"In a general way, we can define computing to mean any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computers. Thus, computing includes designing and building hardware and software systems for a wide range of purposes; processing, structuring, and managing various kinds of information; doing scientific studies using computers; making computer systems behave intelligently; creating and using communications and entertainment media; finding and gathering information relevant to any particular purpose, and so on. The list is virtually endless, and the possibilities are vast."

and it defines five sub-disciplines of the computing field: computer science, computer engineering, information systems, information technology, and software engineering.[2]

However, Computing Curricula 2005[1] also recognizes that the meaning of "computing" depends on the context:

Computing also has other meanings that are more specific, based on the context in which the term is used. For example, an information systems specialist will view computing somewhat differently from a software engineer. Regardless of the context, doing computing well can be complicated and difficult. Because society needs people to do computing well, we must think of computing not only as a profession but also as a discipline.

The term "computing" has sometimes been narrowly defined, as in a 1989 ACM report on Computing as a Discipline:[3]

The discipline of computing is the systematic study of algorithmic processes that describe and transform information: their theory, analysis, design, efficiency, implementation, and application. The fundamental question underlying all computing is "What can be (efficiently) automated?"

The term "computing" is also synonymous with counting and calculating. In earlier times, it was used in reference to the action performed by mechanical computing machines, and before that, to human computers[citation needed].

Other Languages
العربية: حوسبة
Bân-lâm-gú: Computing
Basa Banyumasan: Informatika
català: Informàtica
Deutsch: Computing
español: Informática
Esperanto: Komputado
فارسی: رایانش
Gàidhlig: Coimpiutaireachd
galego: Informática
한국어: 컴퓨팅
हिन्दी: अभिकलन
Bahasa Indonesia: Teknologi komputasi
Basa Jawa: Komputasi
Latina: Computatio
latviešu: Datorika
Bahasa Melayu: Pengkomputan
Mirandés: Anformática
नेपाली: गणन
Novial: Informatike
português: Informática
Scots: Computin
සිංහල: පරිගණනය
српски / srpski: Рачунарство
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Računanje
Tagalog: Pagkukuwenta
українська: Комп'ютинг
vèneto: Enformàdega
Tiếng Việt: Điện toán