Decoupling as a fundamental value of computer science

Timothy R Colburn, Gary Shute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-259
Number of pages19
JournalMinds and Machines
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Computer science
  • Decoupling
  • Values


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