Chapter 1

General Problem-Solving Concepts


Contents 1) Problem Solving in Everyday Life 2) Types of Problems 3) Problem Solving with Computers 4) Difficulties in Problem Solving 5) Questions 2 .

1) Problem solving in everyday life • People make decision every day to solve problems • If a bad decision is made . time and resources are wasted . 3 . • It is important to know how to make decision well.

(What are you trying to achieve?). 4 . ◦ Clearly define the goal that you want to achieve. ◦ Hence. ◦ If you don’t know what the problem is .1. you cannot solve it . in this step you should be able to determine what are the inputs and outputs. Identify the problem ◦ What is the specific problem? .

◦ If you are setting up a solution for a person .2. Understand the problem ◦ You must understand what is involved in the problem before you can continue toward the solution . ◦ When you are working with a computer ? ◦ Must know your own knowledge base. 5 . then you must know what that person know . ◦ Understanding the knowledge base of the person or machine for whom you are solving the problem . ◦ A different set of instruction might have to be used depending on this knowledge .

◦ Generate as many potential solutions as possible. ◦ Tail to other people to find other solutions . ◦ Must be acceptable . 6 . Identify alternative ways to solve the problem .3. the more the better. ◦ List the features for each possible solution.

Select the best way to solve the problem from the list of alternative solutions. ◦ Identify the pros and cons of each possible solution ◦ Select the criteria foe the evaluate . ◦ Select the best solution based on the research 7 .4.

8 .5.    Create a numbered. step-by-step set of instructions Instructions must be included in the knowledge base. This can be very limiting. ◦ Come up with a workable plan for putting the chosen solution into place. especially when working with computer . List instructions that enable you to solve the problem using the selected solution(Do Stage).

9 . • Test the solution  Are the results accurate?  Does it satisfy the needs of the user?  Is it acceptable to the user?  If the result is either incorrect or unsatisfactory . Evaluate the solution (Review and Revise).6. then the problem solver must start the process again ..

Now let’s put problem-solving into action! 10 .

hobbies. monthly reward) go private university. she & her family gathered to Understand the problem. specialties and Gender.(speed. Free. Evaluate the solution (Review and Revise). So.( trip expenses very expensive . monthly reward .(trip expenses. Facts:  Searching for Universities available. Send an enrol application to the university. solution 2. go to university.    go local university. have desired section . 2. 2. Attend first day. monthly reward) go a broad. 3. decide which university for here to attend. must change solution(revaluate) 11 . grades were low. So. Pack your stuff. Problem: Enrolling in a university & department Goal: Name university and department that she will this year. desired section. Not expensive. problem. I felt lonely. enrolment is not free ) Select the best solutions to the Criteria: 1. 4.Problem description Steps Today is the final day Identify the problem. not have desired section. free enrolment. Wait for reply. have desired section. for Abeer in high school. list possible solutions to the problem Outcome. List instructions (Do Stage) 1. 4.  Knowing her grades. 3.

Two ways to approach them : 1) Algorithmic Solution • Computational Problems • Logical Problems • Repetitive Problems 2) Heuristic Solution 12 .• Some problems are straight forward and • some are indirect.

• Algorithmic solutions – Problems that can be solved with a series of actions – Balancing checkbook. baking a cake – Alphabetizing 10.000 names • Heuristic solutions – Problem solution requiring reasoning based on knowledge and experience. and a process of trial and error – Solutions cannot be reached through a direct set of steps – How to buy the best stock or expand the company – Difficult to evaluate the solution 13 .

• E. the correctness and appropriateness of step 6 is far less certain.: its easy to tell that balance in your chequebook is correct or not but its difficult to tell whether you have bought the best stock or not.g. 14 .Observations • Six steps of problem solving can be used for both algorithmic and heuristic solutions. • But for heuristic solutions.

the result may » Be more Efficient » Be Faster » Be more Understandable » Be more Maintainable » Be Reusable 15 .3) Problem Solving with Computers • When we deal with problem solving with computers the following terms are used to address them : 1) Solution : Instructions that must be followed to produce the best results Again.

speakers. etc. 3) Program : Set of instructions that make up the solution after they have been coded into a particular computer language. 16 .2) Result : Outcome or the answer – May take any form: • Printout • Updated files • Output to monitor.

g. • It builds its own knowledge base and gives the result with the help of comparisons. • Heuristics problems such as to throw a ball or how to speak English cannot be solved with series of steps.000 name is an easy task for the computer. 17 . a field of computers called Artificial Intelligence is used. E. • So for dealing heuristic problems.• Computers are built to deal with algorithmic solutions. solving a calculus problem or alphabetizing 10.

4) Difficulties in Problem Solving • The following are the general difficulties faced in problem solving : – In ability to assess each step adequately when addressing a problem. – More focus is on the detail then the frame work – Fail to choose best alternative – Fail to Evaluate the solution Correctly – Difficulty with the coding 18 . – Fear of making a decision.

5) Questions 19 .