My friend and colleague Anthony Dewar has an addiction. He gets to the TED talks website, then wakes up hours later and finds he has looked at over 50 videos. I have a similar problem, when it comes to MIT online lectures. Yesterday Anthony sent me a link to a talk by Tim Harford titled Trial, error, and the God complex. A couple of days earlier, we had a brief conversation about a well-known debate between algorithm vs. heuristic approach followers. Before I proceed, here’s a talk.
When I was working on a civil engineering project in a far-away land called Nova Scotia, my professor made sure we all knew what engineering was about. He once said:
Engineering is an algorithm. The design process can be fast or slow, but the important thing is the guarantee of the perfect solution.
After thinking about this for a week, I quit engineering.