Show Summary Details

p. 132. Computational artefactslocked

  • Subrata Dasgupta


The modern computer is a hierarchically organized system of computational artefacts. Inventing, understanding, and applying rules and principles of hierarchy is a subdiscipline of computer science. ‘Computational artefacts’ explains the concepts of compositional hierarchy, the abstraction/refinement principle, and hierarchy by construction. There are three classes of computational artefacts—abstract, material, and liminal. An important example of an abstract artefact is the Turing machine. Sciences involving artefacts are sciences of the artificial, entailing the study of the relationship between means and ends. The ‘science’ in computer science is, thus, a science of means and ends. It asks: how can a computational artefact demonstrably achieve a given human need, goal, or purpose?

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.