Unsolved Problem in CS as a project

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Unsolved Problem in CS as a project

Postby islamfaisal » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:44 am

Hello,

I am entering ISEF this year. And I had a crazy idea which is why not research a topic among the unsolved problems in Computer Science? I know this sounds crazy and I MAY not realize a happy ending. Do you think this is OK as the idea is researching and trying to find something new or I might be disqualified if I didn't reach something NEW? specially the fair is in November?

Kind Regards,
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Re: Unsolved Problem in CS as a project

Postby hhemken » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:43 pm

islamfaisal,

I'll let you in on a dirty little secret: scientists don't jump into the battle unless they think they already have a solution to a specific problem, or at least a very strong suspicion that they have one. This is summarized by the old "Art of War" quote: "never start a battle that you have not already won." Believe me, these are wise words that will help you throughout your life.

This is not to say you should not take on great challenges, far from it. It means that you should take on challenges against which you have special knowledge, skill, ability, and understanding that will empower you to meet and defeat them. If you have a specific unsolved problem in mind and think you have a good solution, then maybe you should try it. Even if you fail, you can describe your approach and why you thought it would work. If you just want to haul off and attack some random unsolved problem without knowing much about it, well, I would probably recommend against it.

There are infinite things you can do with computer science or with computing in general. Computer programming, for instance, is a cross between literature and magical incantations. It is limited only by your imagination. Think of some unmet need that can be solved via a clever web application or computer program and try to create a solution for it. What are your hobbies? What computing equipment do you have? What programming skills do you have? Do you want to do a hardware project?

These questions will help you brainstorm an approach to your project.

Cheers,


Heinz
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Re: Unsolved Problem in CS as a project

Postby akbarkhan » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:22 pm

I believe the advice the other expert offered is very appropriate. You should try whenever possible to spend time on projects that bring out your passion. This is because we always produce better results for issues that we care about.

As an example, I want to briefly share with you my experience as a graduate student when I was completing my final project. My advisor wisely turned down my first few ideas for a project because he could tell that my commitment to these ideas were lukewarm at best. We discussed my concerns at work and I discussed my frustration at seeing users of software systems that I help develop having trouble learning how to use them. The idea for my project was born! I conducted research on increasing usability of computer systems based on the importance of particular software features to the user. The experience was very rewarding and the countless number of hours that I spent did not seem like work at all.

My purpose in telling you this experience is to hopefully inspire you to search inside yourself to find what is important to you as you look for potential topics. I am so glad that my advisor spent the extra time to drive me towards a worthwhile project.
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