Sunday, April 7, 2013

Post 10: I can't get this project done!

During that time of the semester when projects are due many people feel something like this - " It seems that I can't get this project done" or " I don't know why it doesn't work". If you are in one of those situations do not worry. Chances are that more than a handful of people feel the same way.

As a student, its important to realize that you have time on your hands to try out different things. May be you are not having the right approach, there could be another way in which your problem could be solvable. I cannot comment on problems in pure sciences or mathematics, but as such in electrical engineering, if you have a problem, then there is a place where something is failing or not working as expected. Its upto you to find where the unexpected behaviour is arising from.

This also helps you understand what you are doing. In one of my projects to build a robot there was something that was not working. In the end it turned out that I was missing a small delay after the start of a timer. These machines!! - you generally do not notice a 100ms delay but the machine does. In one of my other projects, I wanted to read in decimal but the IC wanted to read in hexadecimal. Such small differences do make an impact to the end result. Of course, it does take time to find these, but it is satisfying once you have found it.

When you think, you will be surprised at the number of things you usually take for granted. Academic projects give you a chance to do exactly such things

There are a few things that still don't make sense to me when I think about it, for example :
-  the symbol used to denote the integral sign bothers me. (a bit of inspiration from Richard Feynman (Surely you are joking Mr. Feynman is a very good read for a grad student). Why that s-type curve to the left of something to integrate. Mr. Leibniz who introduced it thought of it as an infinite sum of infinitesimal summands which is true. Its called the long-s and stuff. But I feel its more intuitive if it showed something like an inverted bucket, a filled inverted bucket :). But anyway, different people, different thoughts :). There are other things as well, but I will save that for sometime later.

Anyway, the point is think from different views about your project and your professors are always there.  You just have to be able to communicate with them about your ideas and I am sure they will be encouraging. Just be sure not to ask questions which will put your professor off. Remember, you might be graded more on your approach rather than the result itself.

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