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.
Interviewer: Is studying computer science the best way to prepare to be a programmer? Bill Gates: No. the best way to prepare is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating system. You got to be willing to read other people's code, then write your own, then have other people review your code. You've got to want to be in this incredible feedback loop where you get the world-class people to tell you what you're doing wrong.
Bill Gates cited in: "Programmers at Work: Interviews With 19 Programmers Who Shaped the Computer Industry", Tempus, by Susan Lammers (Editor)
I was particularly interested in that, in working on Jurassic Park that aspect of what are the negative parts. Because in talking with the people who were doing this kind of research what I was hearing was that the most responsible of them were deciding not to proceed down certain lines of inquiry which is really a new phase in science. Traditionally in science what the scientists themselves have said is: "I might as well do it, because if I don't, someone else will. It is going to happen inevitably." I think there's recognition now, that it's no so inevitable and it's quite conceivable that if I don't do this research neither will anyone else. It's simply too dangerous.
Michael Crichton, interview Lost World section of Beyond Jurassic Park DVD.