How Computing Influenced our Understanding of the World: Scientific Communities as Communities of Computing

The practice of scientific research changed significantly with the arrival of the computer. Our historical understanding is influenced by two contradictory observations. On the one hand many academics follow the general belief of the public and of the political leaders, that Moore’s law has a significant role in determining the place of technology in society and is not only a determinant of our society but also of our current research practice in the natural and social sciences and in the humanities. On the other hand, historians of computing advocated against technological determinism and made the argument that the computer is a “protean machine” (Michael S. Mahoney). In their understanding, studying scientific communities as communities of computing is just as relevant as the overwhelming technological determinism.
In our symposium we would like to explore these historical phenomena by analysing, among others, the interactions between the personnel of the computing centers, programmers and scientists, new computer-based scientific methods such as scientific simulations and artificial intelligence, and the emergence of new disciplines and sub-disciplines (such as computational linguistics or cognitive science).

Please send a title and abstract of maximum 250 words to

along with a short biographical description (max. 50 words), by 30 November 2023.

This symposium is organized by Helena Durnová (MUNI Brno) and Ulf Hashagen & Rudolf Seising (Deutsches Museum & LMU Munich).

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