© 2014

What Is Computer Science?

An Information Security Perspective


  • Explains the fundamental topics in computer science using a set of easily identifiable examples and applications

  • Provides a unified approach, offering exercises that can be reproduced by the reader without the need for any prior programming experience

  • Presents each topic in the form of a "mini" lecture course, demonstrating how it allows us to solve real problems


Part of the Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science book series (UTICS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XVIII
  2. Foundations of Computer Science

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 3-32
    3. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 33-52
    4. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 53-75
    5. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 77-97
    6. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 99-124
  3. Examples from Information Security

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 125-125
    2. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 127-147
    3. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 149-168
    4. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 199-213
    5. Daniel Page, Nigel Smart
      Pages 215-227
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 229-232

About this book


The remarkable diversity of ideas within the subject of computer science makes it highly rewarding and exciting to study, yet also difficult to describe in essence.

This engaging and accessible text addresses the fundamental question: What Is Computer Science? Rather than supplying a brief overview of every relevant topic, the book showcases a set of representative concepts broadly connected by the theme of information security. The presentation of each topic can be treated as a "mini" lecture course, demonstrating how it allows us to solve real problems, as well as how it relates to other subjects. The discussions are further supported by numerous examples and practical hands-on exercises, which together will be sure to whet your appetite for the many fascinating aspects of computer science.

Topics and features:

  • Presents a concise introduction to the study of algorithms, and describes how computers work using the example of computer viruses
  • Introduces the concepts of data compression, and error detection and correction
  • Highlights the role of data structures, and how their design can have a profound influence on algorithms that operate on them
  • Explores the topic of web-search, with a specific focus on examples drawn from cryptography and information security
  • Reviews both historic and modern cryptographic schemes, examines how a physical system can leak information, and discusses the idea of randomness
  • Investigates the science of steganography, the hiding of secret data within non-secret data
  • Provides additional supplementary material at an associated website

This easy-to-read textbook is an ideal introduction to the study of computer science for students beginning on, or contemplating taking, an undergraduate degree. Teachers wishing to offer a primer on the field will also find the book an excellent educational resource.


Algorithms Computer / Computing Cryptology Introduction

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of BristolBristolUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of BristolBristolUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Dr. Daniel Page and Prof. Nigel Smart are lecturers in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol, UK, affiliated to the Cryptography and Information Security Group. Daniel Page is also the author of the Springer textbook A Practical Introduction to Computer Architecture.

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

“The main audience of this textbook is students (either currently studying subjects related to CS or thinking about enrolling in that area of study) as well as teachers (who might use the book when preparing and developing courses and teaching materials). … The book can facilitate independent learning. … the book walks its readers through relevant and reasonably detailed examples, providing relatable ideas that will help them grasp these concepts.” (Budi Arief, Computing Reviews, May, 2014)