A computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks.
Computer science is the study of the theory, experimentation, and engineering that form the basis for the design and use of computers. It is the scientific and practical approach to computation and its applications and the systematic study of the feasibility, structure, expression, and mechanization of the methodical procedures (or algorithms) that underlie the acquisition, representation, processing, storage, communication of, and access to, information. An alternate, more succinct definition of computer science is the study of automating algorithmic processes that scale. A computer scientist specializes in the theory of computation and the design of computational systems. See glossary of computer science.
Those (natural) laws cannot be circumvented by any amount of piety or cleverness, but they can be understood. Uncovering them should be the highest goal of a civilized society. Not, as we have seen, because scientists have any claim to greater intellect or virtue, but because the scientific method transcends the flaws of individual scientists. Science is the only way we have of separating the truth from ideology, or fraud, or mere foolishness.
Robert L. Park, Voodoo Science (2000), p. 211
Computer science research is different from these more traditional disciplines. Philosophically it differs from the physical sciences because it seeks not to discover, explain, or exploit the natural world, but instead to study the properties of machines of human creation. In this it is analogous to mathematics, and indeed the "science" part of computer science is, for the most part mathematical in spirit. But an inevitable aspect of computer science is the creation of computer programs: objects that, though intangible, are subject to commercial exchange.
Dennis Ritchie (1984) Reflections on Software Research.