Informatics and CS

Business Informatics, Health Informatics & Computer Science

Informatics – Applied Computer Science

Informatics has been referred to as applied Computer Science. Informatics strives to harness the synergistic effects of integrating computing technology into a variety of domains (including business, health, etc.) to improve operational accessibility, efficiency, and effectiveness within an organization. Informatics is fundamentally an interdisciplinary approach to domain problems, and as such is limited neither to a single discipline nor a single domain. Because Informatics extends beyond the boundaries of computer science, it can lead to insights that will drive advances in computing. Its greater scope also provides more options and areas of inquiry for students.

To more clearly show Informatics within the broader area of computing, the following diagram depicts a continuum of the various computing-related disciplines (Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology, Information Systems, and Informatics). The figure is an augmented version of one that first appeared in Computing Curricula 2004 (Joint Task Force for Computing Curricula, 2004), and later modified to incorporate Informatics (Kay, van der Hoek, & Richardson, 2005). The diagram shows that Informatics extends from "software" to "organizational needs". This indicates that Informatics serves as a bridge from computer science and software engineering to information technology and information systems, a bridge that is formed by making context central to the field. The premise that drives this is the knowledge that computing systems are not developed as isolated artifacts, but as solutions to problems, addressing software and information, development and design, technical and social factors, as well as creation and study of implemented solutions (Kay, van der Hoek, & Richardson, 2005).

Diagram depicting continuum of computing displines.

A publication titled “Why an informatics degree?” (Groth & MacKie-Mason, 2010) explains informatics in this way:

Informatics makes connections between the work people do and technology that can support that work (ASU, 2015). Informatics, in general, studies the intersection of people, information, and technology systems. It focuses on the ever-expanding, ubiquitous, and embedded relationship between information systems and the daily lives of people, from simple systems that support personal information management to massive distributed databases manipulated in real time.

Informatics integrates computational sciences with the arts, the humanities, and the health, biological, information, natural, and social sciences in an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems (UICS, 2016). Examples of multi-disciplinary degrees offered at ISU include the following:

  • informatics + business = business informatics
  • informatics + health care administration = health informatics

Additional examples of the application of information technology to specific domains can be viewed here: link

Informaticists augment knowledge of computer science, software design, information technology, and information systems concepts with extensive domain knowledge to improve the ways in which we interact, utilize, and produce results within an application area. Their expertise is not limited to technology alone, but also requires an understanding of the organizational mission and the core business strategies of their organization. Informatics goes beyond computer science and information systems to resolve problems encountered in areas that are predominately outside of computing.

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Computer Science

Computer science spans a wide range, from its theoretical and algorithmic foundations to cutting-edge developments in robotics, computer vision, intelligent systems, and other exciting areas. Computer scientists design and implement software, devise new ways to use computers, and develop effective ways to solve computing problems.

From Computing Curricula 2005.

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Software Engineering

Software engineering is the discipline of developing and maintaining software systems that behave reliably and efficiently, are affordable to develop and maintain, and satisfy all the requirements that customers have defined for them.

From Computing Curricula 2005.

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Information Systems

Information systems focuses on integrating information technology solutions and business processes to meet the information needs of businesses and other enterprises, enabling them to achieve their objectives in an effective, efficient way. Professionals in the discipline are primarily concerned with the information that computer systems can provide to aid an enterprise in defining and achieving its goals.

From Computing Curricula 2005.

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Information Technology

Information technology refers to degree programs that prepare students to meet the computer technology needs of business, government, healthcare, schools, and other kinds of organizations. While Information Systems focuses on the information aspects of computing technology, information technology emphasizes the technology itself more than the information it conveys.

From Computing Curricula 2005.

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Informatics Careers

Examples of Informatics Careers:

  • informatics + archive theory = archival informatics
  • informatics + biodiversity = biodiversity informatics
  • informatics + biology = bioinformatics
  • informatics + business = business informatics
  • informatics + chemistry = cheminformatics
  • informatics + community management = community informatics
  • informatics + criminal justice = computer forensics
  • informatics + law = criminal law with specialization in Internet and computer crimes
  • informatics + socio-economic development = development informatics
  • informatics + film = digital cinematographic informatics
  • informatics + business or law = digital rights management
  • informatics + disease research and management = disease informatics
  • informatics + ecology = ecological informatics
  • informatics + environmental studies = environmental informatics
  • informatics + evolution = evolutionary informatics
  • informatics + geology = geoinformatics
  • informatics + health care administration = health informatics
  • informatics + hotel administration = hospitality informatics
  • informatics + hydrology = hydroinformatics
  • informatics + psychology or fine arts = interactive video game design
  • informatics + law = Internet and intellectual property law
  • informatics + laboratory operations = laboratory informatics
  • informatics + law = legal informatics
  • informatics + materials science = materials informatics
  • informatics + museum studies = museum informatics
  • informatics + music = music informatics
  • informatics + neuroscience = neuroinformatics
  • informatics + social sciences = social informatics
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