Computer Science:   An Interdisciplinary Approach

a textbook for a first course in computer science
for the next generation
of scientists and engineers


Our textbook Computer Science [Amazon · Pearson · InformIT ] is an interdisciplinary approach to the traditional CS1 curriculum with Java. We teach the classic elements of programming, using an “objects-in-the-middle” approach that emphasizes data abstraction. We motivate each concept by examining its impact on specific applications, taken from fields ranging from materials science to genomics to astrophysics to internet commerce.

The first half of the book (available separately as Introduction to Programming in Java) is organized around four stages of learning to program:

The second half of the book explores core ideas of Turing, von Neumann, Shannon, and others that ignited the digital age.


Reading a book and surfing the web are two different activities: This booksite is intended for your use while online (for example, while programming and while browsing the web); the textbook is for your use when initially learning new material and when reinforcing your understanding of that material (for example, when reviewing for an exam). The booksite consists of the following elements:

For students:

For instructors:


We also have a Python version of Chapters 1–4 of our textbook.