Minds and Machines

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 241–259

Decoupling as a Fundamental Value of Computer Science


    • Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Minnesota
  • Gary Shute
    • Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Minnesota

DOI: 10.1007/s11023-011-9233-3

Cite this article as:
Colburn, T. & Shute, G. Minds & Machines (2011) 21: 241. doi:10.1007/s11023-011-9233-3


Computer science is an engineering science whose objective is to determine how to best control interactions among computational objects. We argue that it is a fundamental computer science value to design computational objects so that the dependencies required by their interactions do not result in couplings, since coupling inhibits change. The nature of knowledge in any science is revealed by how concepts in that science change through paradigm shifts, so we analyze classic paradigm shifts in both natural and computer science in terms of decoupling. We show that decoupling pervades computer science both at its core and in the wider context of computing at large, and lies at the very heart of computer science’s value system.


DecouplingComputer scienceValues

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011