Sparx: Season 1, Episode 2

Why computer science is important for everyone

In this episode, Donald Kossmann, professor of computer science at ETH Zurich and director of the Microsoft Research Lab, answers the question of why even non-informaticians need to concern themselves with computer science and uses very practical examples.

Technology shapes all of our lives. It does not matter which profession you come from. You’ll find it everywhere – and that’s a good thing. After all, it is primarily here to make our lives easier and help us move forward. However, in order to use it for the best results possible, it is important to have a basic understanding of how the world of IT works and what IT can do.

Donald Kossmann, Head of the Microsoft Research Lab, shares his understanding of this in the second episode of “Sparx”. He demonstrates how IT basically does nothing more than help us to make decisions and how this can be a huge benefit, even for an ice cream seller.

Kossmann breaks down the subject of information technology into its essential elements, which helps to create an understanding of the bigger picture. He starts with the early days of the computer and the Internet and ends with current trends such as the Cloud and artificial intelligence. A thought-provoking journey that brings both non-computer scientists and computer scientists closer to a complex topic from an insightful perspective.


Donald Kossmann (born in 1968) is distinguished scientist and the Director of the Microsoft Research Lab in Redmond, USA. Prior to this, the native of Germany also worked in teaching and research as professor of computer science at ETH Zurich. His latest book “Wunder Informatik” (The Miracle of Computer Science) proves that teaching IT is a matter close to his heart. With this book he hopes to bring children and young people closer to the world of IT with the help of many everyday examples.

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