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What are the most promising areas in CS? Why?

What are the most promising areas in CS? Why? by @thcormen

Answer by Thomas Cormen:

I don’t have to discuss machine learning/data mining, since other answers have already done that. So I’ll put in my vote for security and privacy, even though I do not work in that area.

We rely on computers more than ever, and our reliance on them is only increasing. When you think about how many computers control systems on which we stake our lives, and what the consequences would be of these computers being hacked, it’s pretty scary.

So forget about the Facebook, Target, and Ashley Madison breaches. They didn’t kill people.

What if someone could take down the power grid?

What if someone could take over the control systems in your car? (It’s been done by getting in via a vulnerability in a telematics system.)

What if you had a pacemaker and someone could hack into it?

Security is a cat-and-mouse game, and it will continue to be one for as long as I can see. The bad guys find and exploit a vulnerability. The good guys patch it up. The bad guys find and exploit some other vulnerability. The good guys patch it up. And the beat goes on.

How much fun will the bad guys have when we have nanobots coursing throughout our blood vessels to keep us healthy?

I always recommend to my students that if they’re looking for an area of computer science for which there will always be a need, then look into security.

What are the most promising areas in CS? Why?

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