Many computer science students ask if computer science requires physics or not, so if you are one of them, this post is for you.
In this article, we’re going to know if really computer science requires physics or not?
Also, determine what are the physics subjects you will study in computer science?
So if you are interested to see how much physics is included in comptuer science, keep reading.
Does computer science require physics?
Physics is not used in computer science as much as math. Computer science is a field that focuses on math, but physics is still essential in areas of computer science such as embedded systems or electronics.
But in general, before going into specialization, you won’t need to study physics. In other words, before you choose the specialization or path that you will follow like:
- web development
- mobile development
- desktop web apps
- machine learning
- embedded systems
- gaming development and so on
You won’t need a lot of physics as much as you will need in math. Just decent physics courses are enough. We will talk about this later in detail in the article.
But after choosing a specialization, things are going to change. You will have 2 choices:
- following majors that have more focus on physics
- following majors that have more focus on math
computer science majors that are focused on physics
- electronics and IT
- computer architecture
- computational biology
The list is not ending. Many comptuer science specialties have a lot of focus on physics. We will talk about them in detail later in the article.
computer science majors that are focused on math
- machine learning
- artificial intelligence
- data science
- computer networking
- computer vision
Is physics important for computer science?
Physics is essential in comptuer science. It is used for a lot of applications that computer science students need in their careers. Many computer science domains require physics to combine with programming or computation. Gaming development is one of the pure examples that combines computer science and physics.
So physics is really important for comptuer science students who want to major in theses following specialties:
1 – gaming development
The principal computer science field that requires physics is gaming development. This domain not only requires physics but always mathematics.
to make a game more realistic, you need to apply physics laws like:
- dynamic including speed and acceleration
So you will need to include all the natural physics phenomena in a game. As a result, it require a deep understanding of physics and also mathematics.
2 – robotics
if you want to go and work in the robotics industry, you will need to focus on physics when you study computer science. Robotics requires a hell of a lot of physics like:
- speeds and inertia
- weight and its applications
In robotics, you won’t wight a code simply without taking physics into account. For instance, you will need to make programs that can a robot execute safely without being damaged or out of control.
Programming is very interesting in robotics. You will need to use all your physics knowledge to write a code that respects the following:
- right speed
- right acceleration
- choose the right trajectory, etc
3 – IoT (internet of things)
IoT is another comptuer science field that you will discover in this major. It is an abbreviation of the Internet of Things, a domain responsible for connecting any device with the internet.
Currently, many people are using technology in their houses. To clarify, you connect any electronic device you have in a house or a company with internet like:
- illumination system
- water heater, etc
IoT allows you to monitor these devices from distances like:
- running the water heater on every day between 6 to 7 pm to take a shower
- close a door if you forget it
- run an AC room from a smartphone before you come to the house, etc
So your goal will be as a lot developer is to make software that helps users to control these devices like mobile and cloud services. In this occupation, you will need a lot of physics.
All the devices mentioned above work under physical rules, so how you’re going to develop softwares if you don’t know anything about physics.
4 – computer architecture
Computer architecture is another field of computer science that requires to have a basic understanding of physics. In this field, you will need to study the core of comptuer components. In other words, know what is inside of a comptuer.
you will need physics to understand the architecture of computers like:
- what is a memory
- what is CPU
- understand what registers are etc.
5 – CFD
CFD, or “computational fluid dynamics,” is technic to study mechanical objects’ fluid behavior. In other words, mechanical engineers or physics work together with computer science developers to create this kind of software.
As a computer science undergrad, you need to develop software that studies how fluids behave in different environments. For example, it makes software that:
- calculate the speed of the fluid
- determine the acceleration of the fluid oil, water, or air
- know the pressure
CFD is a domain that requires a lot of physics and is an example of a technic that requires physics and programming skills.
6 – FEM
FEM or ” finite element method “is a numeral technic that helps to calculate or determine the resistance of mechanical components. In other simple words, software systems that test mechanical components.
There are many FEM software that mechanical engineers use to make tests, so if you want to become one of them, you will need to study a lot of physics to make these kinds of softwares.
In this field you will apply physic and comptuer science knowledge, it a kind of specialization for people who love physic and comptuer science.
You discover more about what FEM is in this video.
7 – embedded systems
The last specialty that requires programming and physics is embedded systems, so what are embedded systems?
As a simple definition embedded system is creating an electronic and programmable device like:
in other words, all devices that work with electricity have programs embedded in them.
AS a comptuer science graduate, you will require a lot of physics basics in this area, especially physics related to electronics and circuits analysis.
You will need to use physics to understand how sensors behave like sound or temperature to create proper software for them.
Is physics taught in computer science?
In general, physics is not taught in comptuer science. But in the first year, many universities teach basics modules in physics that include a physic module related to topics that computer science students will need to apply in programming and electronic courses like architecture and robotics.
In the first year, it is expected to study the basics courses that talk about physics and other modules like English and Chemistry. But these modules are just a recap of what you learned in k11 and k 12.
so there is not a problem to revise some physics lectures that you will need later in comptuer science courses like:
- Work, Energy & Power.
- Current Electricity DC and AC
- Magnetic Effect of Current & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Waves
- Semiconductor Electronics: Materials, Devices, and Simple Circuits
These physics lectures are very interesting. Normally most universities consider that you already understand them well. So if you find some universities, restudy them again you are lucky.
So before starting your first year as a comptuer science freshman, go and revise these physics majors. They are critical and need to be used in the advanced robotics, electronics, and comptuer architecture courses.
it is right that physics is not taught in comptuer science, but in most courses, as we mentioned above in the article, you will need physics principles.
So physics is required indirectly in computer science in many applications.
However, if you have a week basics in physics that you studied in high school, there is no doubt that you will struggle in comptuer sciences courses like electronics and architecture computer. So be careful and don’t dismiss physics.