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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Software Design Resources

by chunlou (Curate)
on Aug 22, 2003 at 10:39 UTC ( #285739=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Software Design Resources
in thread Software Design Resources

It's not about argument. Just mutual learning.

Funny enough, when that "statistician" (I think he's more known as a great mathematician) first came up with some very genuine estimation technique, the other engineers were very skeptical since they didn't know what he's doing. But the stuff worked. (He mentioned it on a TV documentary. Didn't say what actually that technique was.)

As your sig says "Examine what is said, not who speaks." I don't put faith in someone just because he has a PhD. In the business world, many PhDs gave dreadful advices. (A consultant (PhD, who could give you a four-hour lecture on anything) advised a web development house that they should lay off most of their programmers and sales reps partly because many of them "not working hard enough." The firm eventually failed not because people not working hard enough but partly because the business model (the consultant partly responsible for) wasn't working.)

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Software Design Resources
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Aug 22, 2003 at 11:08 UTC

    I whole-heartedly agree with not taking someones word for something just because of a piece of paper, or even a real-world reputation. However, in this case, the PhD in question has enough of a reputation, a body of work and a proven track record.

    Add to that, my own abilities in this area were never sufficient to even begin to fully comprehend the ideas, never mind challenge them. To that end, it becomes imprudent if not impossible to "Examine what is said".

    It is impossible to be fully conversant in every field, and there will always be those subject areas where you simply have to rely upon the words and skills of others. Once this point is reached it becomes a case of trying to pick the people whos words, ideas & skills you put your trust in as wisely as possible. Examining their words in the light of their peers reactions to them, and the faith they place in them, is as good a way as any I know, and better than most:)

    It is an imperfect mechanism. Even the historically judged "best and brightest in their fields" tend to be superceded over time, though it tends to be in the detail rather than in any fundemental way.

    That said. I never met Mandlebrot, though I did watch a live presentation he gave once (to do with fractals), and I am pretty sure that he didn't have any direct involvement in the project in question. It is quite possible that the people that performed the statistics in question misunderstood his theories, or mis-applied them. I can atest to the accuracy of the predictions that the process produced albeit over a relatively short timeframe. Being fundementally an empiricist, it is this last point that is the strongest influence upon my faith in the methodology used.

    Examine what is said, not who speaks.
    "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
    "When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." -Richard Buckminster Fuller
    If I understand your problem, I can solve it! Of course, the same can be said for you.

      It's reasonable for you to do what you do.

      In academia (such as economics) sometimes technique is valued over problem over result. It causes some disconnection between the "theorists" and the "empiricists."

      It could be that they misapplied the theory or the underlining data and process were not that forecastable. For example, you can't make a good forecast for each outcome of the flipping of a fair coin no matter how sophisticated a technique is. (Many people try too hard to fit the reality into their "models.")

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