Hybrid Approach to Problem Solving: The Knowledge-Based and Exploratory Methods
Introduction to Problem-Solving Techniques
In the ever-evolving world of software development, problem-solving is a crucial skill. It is not just about finding the right solution, but also about understanding the problem and its context. In this article, we will explore two distinct methods of problem-solving that I've used before and suggest a hybrid approach to them.
The Knowledge-Based Approach
The knowledge-based approach to problem-solving is based on crystalized memory. This approach is generally faster as it relies on pre-existing knowledge and solutions. It is like having a well-stocked library at your fingertips, ready to provide you with the answer to common problems.
However, this approach might not be suitable for new problems that aren't part of the background knowledge or are a bit different, making them difficult to recognize. It is like trying to find a specific book in a library that has never been built. You might need to build that library yourself, which is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort.
I am trying to illustrate in the image above the patterns that we just see and recognize, hopefully it won't be too abstract for readers. The geometric shapes in the image represent the patterns of knowledge and problem-solving.
The Exploratory Approach
The exploratory approach to problem-solving, on the other hand, involves turning chaos into order 🦞 by exploring the outcomes and understanding the heuristics. This approach is slower and might require some luck, but it provides valuable real-deal experience. It is like exploring a new city without a map, which can be frustrating and confusing, but also exciting and enlightening.
The exploratory approach is more about understanding the problem and its context, rather than just finding the right solution. It is about learning from the process, understanding the outcomes, documenting, and applying the heuristics to future problems.
I am trying to illustrate in the image above simple shapes on the bottom-left, which represent basic knowledge and solutions, to slightly more complex shapes in the middle to the top-right of the image, which represent advanced knowledge and problem-solving techniques. This progression mirrors the learning process, where we start with simple patterns and gradually develop more complex ones as we gain more knowledge and experience.
The Hybrid Approach
The hybrid approach to problem-solving begins with the exploratory method, which is especially useful when you have a significant amount of time and the problem at hand is of high importance. In this phase, you solve the problem yourself, diving deep into the problem, understanding its semantics, and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This approach is like having a well-stocked library and also exploring a new city without a map.
The exploratory phase is crucial when you can afford it in terms of time. It's akin to conducting a thorough investigation, gathering as much information as possible, and understanding the problem in its entirety. This phase involves research, trial-and-error, asking questions, and testing various hypotheses. It's during this phase that you might interact with AI solutions like ChatGPT to explore potential solutions and understand the design and semantics behind them.
Once you have a solution, you can then compare it with the best solution out there. This is the knowledge-based approach. It's like having a well-stocked library and reading the best books on the topic. You're not just learning about the problem, but also understanding the reasons behind the solution or design. This phase is crucial as it helps you understand the problems that were faced and the solutions that have been provided.
This hybrid approach combines the speed of the knowledge-based approach with the depth of understanding of the exploratory approach. It allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the problem and its solution.
Problem-solving is a crucial skill in software development, requiring an understanding of the problem and its context.
The knowledge-based approach to problem-solving relies on pre-existing knowledge and solutions, making it generally faster but less suitable for new problems.
The exploratory approach involves understanding the problem and its context and learning from the process. It is slower and might require some luck, but provides valuable experience whatever the outcome.
The hybrid approach to problem-solving combines the knowledge-based and exploratory approaches. It begins with the exploratory method, which is especially useful when you have a significant amount of time and the problem at hand is of high importance. After finding a solution, you can then compare it with the best solution out there, which is the knowledge-based approach. This hybrid approach combines the speed of the knowledge-based approach with the depth of understanding of the exploratory approach, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the problem and its solution.
The hybrid approach to problem-solving is a powerful tool that combines the exploratory and knowledge-based methods. It allows you to solve problems comprehensively and efficiently, leveraging the best of both worlds. Whether you're dealing with a complex programming task or a personal challenge, this approach can help you find the best solution.
🎶 MUSIC BIT: Problem-solving in software development is not merely about finding solutions, but also about understanding the problem and its context. This exploration is enriched when we incorporate elements from the realm of music, such as the song 'Weightless' by Marconi Union.
'Weightless' is a renowned instrumental track known for its calming effect. It features dreamy synths, soothing melodies, and instrumentation that includes piano, guitar, and electronic samples of natural soundscapes. Scientific research has validated its effectiveness, indicating that it can slow heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and decrease cortisol levels, a hormone released in response to stress.
The calming nature of 'Weightless' can be likened to the peace and relaxation we experience when we solve a complex problem. Our journey of problem-solving is filled with ups and downs, but ultimately, we find satisfaction when we find the right solution.
In our next meeting in two weeks, keep exploring, keep learning, and find your 'Weightless' moments. Goodbye for now!