The best way to solve problems in life is to ask the right questions, says Peter Bohm, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and a former computer scientist who pioneered some of the techniques that are used in most of our everyday lives.
And that means making the correct choice of questions and making the right choices about how to approach them.
“If you’re a mathematician and you want to find the answer to a problem, the first thing to do is make the right decisions,” he says.
But what if you want the answer wrong?
That’s when we need to think about our choices and what we need, instead, to do.
“The most important thing is to not be able to get the answer that you want, because if you can’t, then you’re not going to get anywhere,” Bohm says.
And even if you’re able to find a right answer, that may not be good enough.
“For example, suppose you’re going to buy a new car,” Boggins says.
“You’re going for a certain price.
So what you need to know is: What’s the right price?
What’s your credit score?
What do the ratings say about your creditworthiness?”
So Bohm suggests asking these questions, but with some modifications.
How to ask questions that are right and the right ones at the same time, like what to buy, and where to look for good deals, and when to start looking, to get to the right answer.
And in this episode of Polygon, we’ll take a look at the two most common questions people ask when it comes to choosing the right tools for solving a problem.
Why are the math problems we solve so good?
Bohm first introduces his theory of decision trees, which he describes as a system of decision rules that determine how people make decisions, or what they do.
Decision trees, he explains, “are a way of representing what we know about the world, the way we know what is likely to happen, what is probable and what is unlikely.”
Bohm believes decision trees are the best way we have to represent the “laws of probability and probability laws,” which describe the likelihoods and patterns of events.
“They’re the only way to represent probabilities that are not based on what we think of as chance,” Borrow says.
If you’re thinking about what you want a solution to, he says, “you can use a decision tree to do that.”
The problem with trees is that they can get in the way of learning how to think like a mathematician.
“There’s a lot of problems in mathematics that people don’t like, because you’re trying to represent things in a very abstract way, which leads to bad decisions,” Bouthi says.
He says you should start by thinking about how the world works, and then work your way through the mathematical problems to figure out how they relate to those problems.
What to look out for when it came to buying a new tool or computer source Polygons first episode on the best tools for finding the right answers.
The most common question people ask Bohm about his theory is what tools to buy.
He explains that he uses tools that are “very good at figuring out what we’re going in for.”
Boggin, for example, uses the software toolkit “Empirical Computing” to figure the probability of a particular event occurring, and uses the “big data” database “Evaluation Toolkit” to compare the probabilities of events that occur.
But Bohm also uses the mathematical tools he’s developed like the “math puzzles” and “big problem solving” systems, “so that you can ask the correct questions and do the right thing, without having to learn any more mathematics,” he explains.
What you need are these tools, he argues.
“I’m not saying that all the tools are great at solving these problems, but I’m saying that the tools that do that are the most effective.”
A good toolkit for solving math problems, Bohm adds, is a good tool for understanding what to look at and what to ignore.
For example, he suggests looking at “problem spaces,” which are collections of numbers that have a common structure.
Problem spaces, for instance, might be “random variables.”
In a problem space, it’s easy to identify the order of numbers in a collection, but it’s hard to tell which of the numbers are actually random.
Bohm calls these “randomness properties.”
But Bohm does also point out that “there are a lot” of problems that you should never worry about.
“We’re trying not to be too worried about whether the problem is real or imaginary,” he said.
Instead, you should look at it “as a chance of a solution, not as a probability.”
And when you do, you’ll find that the problem doesn’t “just pop up