Science Fair Decision Making Help

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Science Fair Decision Making Help

Postby Probe » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:51 pm

Hi!

For this year's Intel, I really want to do a simulation project with an algorithm that I developed (an extension to my last year's project, which did fairly well in Regional and States but didn't get me into Intel). Last year I developed both my own simulator and algorithm. Recently, I've been given a great opportunity to use a very, high-end commercial simulator (commercially it costs $10,000 but I have it for free for academic purposes). However, there is minimal coding involved. Any results I do get though, are as professional as possible (something that was a problem for me last year).

I'm planning on entering in the Computer Science category, so my question is which simulator should I use to develop my algorithm, the commercial one, or my own simulator? If I used my own I would have to improve it in addition to developing my own algorithm. Which one would give me better chances of success?

Thanks!
Probe
 
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Re: Science Fair Decision Making Help

Postby hhemken » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:03 am

Probe,

What do you mean by "commercial simulator"? Can't your algorithm be implemented on a general purpose computer? What was your "as professional as possible" problem?

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Re: Science Fair Decision Making Help

Postby Probe » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:45 pm

The commercial simulator is one used by professionals in the field. It takes into consideration many, many more options than I could possibly do on my simulator (as the commercial one has been improving over the last decade). Since my original simulator did not take that into account, the only complaint in my project from judges was that the simulator did not take all aspects into account (a truly impossible task considering the complexity of the field). That would be nullified by using this commercial simulator. Results I would get would be professionally verified because I used the simulator, something that could not occur with my simulator as one simple mistake could give wrong results. It would also give me time to focus on my algorithm and refine and improve that. However, since the coding involved diminishes dramatically, I am wondering if this is a good idea or not.

Thank you for getting back to me!
Probe
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:46 am
Occupation: student: 9th grade
Project Question: the effect of different amounts of melittin on
a) oil extraction from algae
b) survival rate of bacteria
Project Due Date: December 2011
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Science Fair Decision Making Help

Postby hhemken » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:54 am

Probe,

So with the commercial simulator you can 1) write less code and 2) focus on your algorithm? I think that is win/win and should significantly improve your project. If you are concerned that the judges will complain that you didn't write it all yourself, you can point out that last time they complained about not taking all the necessary options into account, and that in any case almost nobody writes the operating systems, compilers, and interpreters that they use on a daily basis. By focusing on the algorithm you are focusing on the science/engineering and not on the infrastructure.

On that basis, I would recommend you take advantage of the commercial simulator.

Good luck!


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Re: Science Fair Decision Making Help

Postby akbarkhan » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:30 pm

I would agree that using the commercial simulator would be the better choice for the reasons stated by the other expert. In addition, I would suggest that you thoroughly understand the simulator that you are using in terms of its intended purpose, limitations, and reliablity of results provided and include this information in your project write-up. This information should be taken into account as you conduct your research as well.

Good luck! Simulation is a very rewarding field of software and I am certain that you will get a lot out of your project.
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