Bertrand Meyer: Electrical engineering vs. computer science

Bertrand Meyer, at the 40 Years of Software Engineering panel at ICSE 2008, on May 16, 2008, 11:56am: “Electrical engineering is to computer science what making a bed is to making love.” I’m not entirely sure this is true, but it certainly makes for a memorable quote.

UPDATE: I had mentioned my enjoyment of this quote to Prof. Meyer at the conference. A few days later I received an email from him in which he generously (and gracefully) corrects me with the exact statement, which first appeared in his inaugural lecture at ETH Zurich:

We appreciate our debt to electrical engineering, without which there would be no computers. Indeed, computer science is to electrical engineering as the art of making love is to the art of making beds.

Much better, and certainly less crude than my in-the-moment snapshot.



  1. xXpoisonXx Avatar

    I’ve been trying to decide on a major also, I’d like to decide later on in college but the college i’ve been accepted to has 2 seperate campus’ for each, and the closer I get to graduation the closer the decision looms. I know I like working with hardware, and like webpage design too, I haven’t yet worked with programming. I’m terrible at math, but willing to make the effort. Just yeah, I’m so confused…I guess I dont know enough about either of the subjects and when I look online I get mixed answers

  2. Anthony Fontanilla Avatar

    Interesting. I’ve been having a hard time deciding whether I should major in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering. We also have Computer Science, but that doesn’t really have much to do with hardware. I found this site, which almost has the opposite view, concluding that EE is better than CS. However, CS isn’t exactly the same thing as CE.

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