Posted by: hmchang | October 22, 2006

Research: Appreciate Problem

Three times in a week, three professors talked about the importance and value of identifying problems.

“You should learn how to appreciate problems,” Wang said, “once a problem is clearly defined, the following engineering part is relative easy.”

“Once you have identified a problem, you have accomplished 50% of your Ph.d. thesis.” said Cheng. “In most situation, if you know what the problem is, and really understand it, the problem is solved.” “In many companies, people hire Ph.D. students to identify problems, and this is your value. The worst case is that you don’t even know there is a problem!” “Being able to identify problem should what you aim for.”

“A clearly defined problem would be easy to solve. Further divide a problem into smaller ones, and you can solve each of them easily. ” said MMS.

Indeed, the value of a Ph.D. degree is to be able to identify problem and define them in a better way. Solving old problems have led to great business opportunities. For example, the founders in Youtube.com started their company after finding it difficult to share video on-line without launching additional software.

One might argue that finding a good solution to solve problems are more difficult and I agree. I think the important part is be able to know the limitation of technology and knowledge. Knowing what can be done and what cannot be easily done is also part of a Ph.D. training. Theoretical derivation help you identify potential limitation. More understanding would come from literature survey and what you have exposed to.

Let us practice and be able to indenfity problems and then clearly define them.

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