Hackers and Computer Science


Although most academics and industry practitioners regard "hacking" as mostly ad-hoc, a loose collection of useful tricks essentially random in nature, I will argue that hacking has in fact become a "distinct research and engineering discipline" with deep underlying engineering ideas and insights. Although not yet formally defined as such, it are these ideas and insights that drive the great contributions that hacking has been making to our understanding of computing, including the challenges of handling complexity, composition, and security in complex systems. I will argue that hacking uncovers and helps to understand (and teach) fundamental issues that go to the heart of Computer Science as we know it, and will try to formulate several such fundamental principles which I have learned from hacker research.