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# inst04 1 - Class 04.1 Problem Solving Methods and...

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Problem Solving Methods and Algorithms Class 04.1

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Class Objectives Learn to apply the problem solving  process Learn techniques for error-free problem  solving
Learning Objectives Define an algorithm Know what is meant by "decomposition"  of a problem Learn how to write algorithms using  flowcharts and pseudocodes Know what is meant by "top-down" design  method

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Presentation of Engineering Solutions As a pair, in the next 5 minutes review the contents of Class04pres.ppt (Note: This material was taken from Chapter 3 of Foundations of Engineering )
Engineers Solve Problems Problem solving is a powerful human activity. Computers are useful tools in problem solving, but it is the human who actually solves the problem. It is impossible to teach specific facts that will always lead to a solution. The ability to solve problem comes from doing it. Many things must pull together to solve a problem.

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Methods for Problem Solving If the problem is extremely well defined, use algorithms - A set of well-defined rules for the solution of a problem in a finite number of steps These may be implemented in computer programs e.g. Solve for x in ax 2 + bx + c = 0
Difficulties in Problem Solving Most common difficulty: failure to use known information . To avoid this problem: Write the problem in primitive form and sketch an accurate picture of the setup (where applicable). Transform the primitive statements to simpler language. Translate verbal problems to more abstract mathematical statement(s) and figures, diagrams, charts, etc.

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Note: 1 acre = 43,560 ft 2 Pair Exercise (5 minutes ) Given : A student is in a stationary hot-air balloon that is momentarily fixed at 1325 ft above a piece of land. This pilot looks down 60 o (from horizontal) and turns laterally 360 o . Required : a) Sketch the problem b) How many acres of land are contained by the cone created by her line of site? c) How high would the balloon be if, using the same procedure, an area four times greater is encompassed?
Problem Solving As a pair, in the next 10 minutes review the contents of Class04ps1.ppt Class04ps2.ppt (Note: This material was taken from Chapter 3 in Foundations of Engineering. )

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More Difficulties in Solving Problems Imposing unnecessary constraints: Association Constraints - unstated constraints based on previously learned associations. Function Constraints - unstated constraints based on previously learned functions. World-View Constraints - unstated constraints imposed by individual's world view.
Individual Exercise (3 minutes) The nine dots shown are arranged in equally spaced rows and columns.

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