Schools and colleges are failing the next generation of scientists by not providing the computer skills they need to do the job, according to the scientists behind Microsoft Research's 2020 report.
"Our findings show that computer science is set to become as fundamental to the natural sciences as mathematics has become to the physical sciences," said Stephen Emmott, a director at Microsoft Research Cambridge.
"This means that tomorrow's scientists will need to be highly computationally literate as well as being highly scientifically literate.
"As a consequence we need to rethink how we educate today's children in order to ensure that we have the new kinds of scientists that we need for tomorrow's science."
The same idea was followed through by several other members of the scientific panel.
"A scientist not interested in computing is an oxymoron," suggested Ehud Shapiro, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
"A physicist cannot hire a mathematician to sit in the next office and help him do things. To be a good physicist you must also be a good mathematician.
"We believe that tomorrow's biologist will not be able to be a poor computer scientist. It will not work out to hire a computer scientist to sit next door and do the computation for the research. He will not be able to be a good biologist without being a good computer scientist."
Andrew Parker, director of the Cambridge eScience Centre, added: "I have a very simple message about scientific training from the conclusions to the report.
"When I take on a PHD student they come to me trained very well in mathematics and physics, and they're trained to solve problems that can be expressed on two sides of A4, because that's what the examination system presents them with.
"They might have used computers before or even an oscilloscope, but they will have no training and no experience of data handling, data analysis or many of the things we need to make a single meaningful plot of modern scientific data.
"So we need to completely change the way we train the next generation of scientists in order to tackle the challenges.
"They don't need IT courses on how to read their email and do word processing; they need computational science courses which are relevant to analysing large data collections, searching, making hypotheses, doing simulations.
"We need to build this sort of computer science training into school level and right through university if we want to have scientists capable of taking advantage of the experiments we'll be able to deliver in the next 15 years."
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