01b. Problem Solving

01b. Problem Solving - o Look for patterns A pattern may be...

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Handout #1a CS103B Maggie Johnson Problem Solving Process Decipher o Identify key terms and have definitions and formulas ready. o Understand what is being asked, both explicitly and implicitly. o If appropriate, try some examples to strengthen your understanding. o Map it to a problem you have already solved, and use that as a model. Choose a Strategy o Compute/Simplify: Find the formula and solve. o Visualize: Make a model by drawing a picture, creating a table or list, etc. Organize what you know into a form that helps you get to a solution. Use discrete structures and their built-in properties and algorithms. o Simplify: Reword the problem using smaller numbers or a more familiar problem setting. See if you can sub-divide the problem into simpler problems or cases. Some problems can be simplified by working backwards.
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Unformatted text preview: o Look for patterns: A pattern may be numerical, visual or behavioral. By identifying it, you can either find the solution directly or extend the pattern to find the solution. o Guess, check and revise: Make a reasonable guess and check it. Revise the guess as needed. o Eliminate: List and eliminate possible solutions based on information presented in the problem – minimize the solution space as much as possible. • Check your Work o Re-read the problem and your solution and make sure you actually solved it. • Recommended Reading George Polya: How to Solve it. George Polya: Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning, Volumes I and II . Heinrich Dorrie: 100 Great Problems of Elementary Mathematics ....
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