Favorites: Storytelling [Part 05]

Birthdays: Me: July 4 (Independence day, United States), Sis 1: Sep 16 (Independence day, Mexico), Bro: April 23, Sis 2: October 22, Mom: October 5, Katrina: July 16, Melissa: October 4, Selena: July 22, Maisie: April 15, ..

Favorites: Storytelling [Part 03]

1. Academia 2. Industry. I wanted to invent the future. Plus bd/developing – ecommerce, Tele-health, etc. technology transfer / invention. (all engineering, physics, chemistry, bio, economics – academic research, industry)

[Development: Government role gets bigger; For-profit bigger; Nonprofit for economic development smaller; Philanthropy remains/bigger.]

Managing Complexity

Managing Complexity In Your Head

Finding it hard to understand a complex phenomenon?

How do you manage complexity in your head?

1. Visualization / Imagination

Imagination by Katrina Kaif

 

‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination’ – Imagination by Katrina Kaif

Language and words are discrete. Visualize, so you see ‘all’, ‘the whole’ at once.

  • Organization
  • Connected Structure – how parts are connected to form the whole; what happens when a part is changed.
  • Chunking

2. Abstraction

Create Abstractions to help you see whole in terms of abstract concepts, when it’s hard to see ‘whole’ at once.

  • Visualization is usually top-down; creating abstractions can be done both bottom-up and top-down.
  • Recursive definitions are one type of abstraction.
  • Naming.
  • Concept borrowed from Computer Science; applicable across disciplines.

3. Generalization

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‘Have a good day , and a great week , and just a wonderful life in general ! ‘ – Generalization by Katrina Kaif

Abstract classes and classes of behaviors into Generalizations.

Science is all about discovering generalizations.

4. Systems Thinking

Divide the whole into systems and the systems into sub-systems and their interactions – Systems Thinking.

5. Knowledge Ontology

Organize generalizations into Knowledge Ontology.

Move up and down between Multiple Levels Of Abstractions.

Concept borrowed from Artificial Intelligence (AI).

6. Point of View / Perspective

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Perspective by Katrina Kaif

Find new Points of view from which to look at the domain under consideration (examples include how American Physicist Richard Feynman found new way of looking at interactions between light and matter which helped him discard infinities and formulate QED).

 

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‘Seeing the world through different glasses’ – Point of view, zooming in and out by Katrina Kaif

  • Understand part (representative element / elements) to understand the whole – Part – Whole.
  • Lens tool – “zoom in” and “zoom out”.

 

 

 

 

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‘If plan A didn’t work stay cool, the Alphabet has 25 more letters’ – Google Alphabet by Katrina Kaif

  • Problem – Sub-problem
    • Examples
      • Recursion
      • Dynamic Programming
      • Mathematical Induction

 

  • Individual Element – Whole 
    • Examples
      • Matrix Multiplication: individual element = respective row * column
      • Proof of Inclusion Exclusion Principle.
      • Coloring Principle (Problem Solving Heuristic)
      • Telescoping Tool (Mathematical Problem Solving; Series Summation)
  • Local Behavior – Global Behavior
    • Invariance Principle (Problem Solving Heuristic)
      • Change in individual states – Invariant Global function.
    • Iteration in Computing
      • Thinking in terms of change in state in an iteration.

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At the end of the day: ‘Hold on, I’ve gotta overthink about it!’ – Managing complexity by Katrina Kaif

Managing Complexity

Managing Complexity In Your Head

Finding it hard to understand a complex phenomenon?

How do you manage complexity in your head?

1. Visualization / Imagination

Language and words are discrete. Visualize, so you see ‘all’, ‘the whole’ at once.

  • Organization
  • Connected Structure – how parts are connected to form the whole; what happens when a part is changed.
  • Chunking

2. Abstraction

Create Abstractions to help you see whole in terms of abstract concepts, when it’s hard to see ‘whole’ at once.

  • Visualization is usually top-down; creating abstractions can be done both bottom-up and top-down.
  • Recursive definitions are one type of abstraction.
  • Naming.

3. Generalization

14724563_1788317928112078_2697529884478836366_n

‘Have a good day , and a great week , and just a wonderful life in general ! ‘ – Generalization by Katrina Kaif

Abstract classes and classes of behaviors into Generalizations.

Science is all about discovering generalizations.

4. Systems Thinking

Divide the whole into systems and the systems into sub-systems and their interactions – Systems Thinking.

5. Knowledge Ontology

Organize generalizations into Knowledge Ontology.

Move up and down between Multiple Levels Of Abstractions.

6. Point of View / Perspective

16641067_1843139239296613_5681191096692787784_n

Perspective by Katrina Kaif

Find new Points of view from which to look at the domain under consideration (examples include how Feynman found new way of looking at interactions between light and matter which helped him discard infinities and formulate QED).

 

  • Understand part (representative element / elements) to understand the whole – Part – Whole.
  • Lens tool – “zoom in” to “zoom out”.
  • Problem – Sub-problem
    • Examples
      • Recursion
      • Dynamic Programming
      • Mathematical Induction
  • Individual Element – Whole 
    • Examples
      • Matrix Multiplication: individual element = respective row * column
      • Proof of Inclusion Exclusion Principle.
      • Coloring Principle (Problem Solving Heuristic)
      • Telescoping Tool (Mathematical Problem Solving; Series Summation)
  • Local Behavior – Global Behavior
    • Invariance Principle (Problem Solving Heuristic)
      • Change in individual states – Invariant Global function.
    • Iteration in Computing
      • Thinking in terms of change in state in an iteration.

Evolution of My Dreams and Realizations

My first ‘Aim in life’, as far as I can remember (It was 1988 / 89; I was 2 or 3), was to become a milkman. I mean, it wasn’t about being a milkman. I wanted to become the honest person appreciated by my parents – a milkman by the name Mubarak. (“I want to become Mubarak”, I used to say). So, what I truly wanted to become was a plain, simple, honest person. 

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Next, I wanted to become a building mechanic. I used to stare at people who built houses in awe. My uncle sent me a toy Mechanical Tool Box.

My next major change in aim occurred when I wanted to join the Military (age: 4-5). Each night, I used to stay awake until the National Anthem with the National Flag was played on BTV and give salute. I watched a Television program depicting Military life. One of my uncles quipped: “The secret: Tahsin wants to become the President!”.

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My mom told me of an incident that took place when I was a baby of few months old (1986). One day, General Ershad was delivering a speech (who was then the President). My mom was studying for her exams. I was lying right beside my maternal Grandfather. My Grandfather suddenly started praying loudly: “God, grant my wish and guide my grandson to become the President and lead the Nation.” My Grandmother called my mom, “Come! Quick! Look how your dad is praying for your son!”     

During my First grade, a serial had an enormous influence on me: “The sword of Tipu Sultan”. Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali were my childhood heroes. The serial drew me to History. I was deeply influenced by another historical novel during 3rd / 4th Grade – “Khun Ranga Path”. Besides History, books on General Knowledge were among my favorites from an early age. My father bought me my first “General Knowledge” book (Encyclopedia) around 5. Then I discovered “General Knowledge” books (Encyclopedia) in my aunt’s house. Later, I started buying Encyclopedia myself. I used to stare at the Globe of the world and fantasize (
Grade 3 / 4). I fantasized first becoming a King of Ancient Bengal, then King of Myanmar (Burma) and later lifetime President of Kazakhstan. 

I remember playing computer games at one of our relative’s house during Fifth grade. Almost everyone around me wanted to become a Computer Engineer at that time. So I thought I should try to become one myself – a Computer Engineer. 

During my middle school years, I was a voracious reader of novels. Reading novels was the most fun activity I could think of. I could understand different writing techniques employed by novelists. Becoming a novelist, writing great novels was my dream during 7th to 10th grade (1999 – 2002). For living, I would become a Physician or Engineer or Architect. That was my plan.

During 9th / 10th grade, I made up my mind to study Medicine (there was huge encouragement from my parents) and become a Physician besides writing novels.

When I read a book on Psychology (my mom’s book on Educational Psychology from her M.Ed. course), I understood that an intense interest in the workings of the human mind was the chief reason I wanted to become a novelist. Moreover, Literature could only depict subjective human experience, but the objective theories of Psychology applied to all humans.

I thought that I could become a Physician and specialize in Psychiatry or Neurology.

Studying Psychology helped me understand the essence of Science: To understand experimentally provable General Rules that govern everything we see around us.

Studying Psychology books gave me the confidence that: I can come up with original ideas, and that I should question what is written in books.

Trying to understand the theories of Psychology in terms of my own experiences and what I see around me, made me aware of the connection between Real World and the world of Books and Theories.

As I later diversified and ventured into different branches of Science, these realizations and understandings proved invaluable.

One day, as I was preparing for my high school (11th grade) Entrance Exam (later it was decided that Entrance would be based on results of matriculation exam), a Chapter on different forms of Energy from my Physics book grabbed my attention. I thought: maybe I could work on both Psychology / Neurology and Physics. I went through my 9-10th grade Physics book. I bought and read other books (Undergraduate level Physics Textbooks, Stephen Hawkin’s A Brief History of Time and others).

I thought and wrote down my understandings and realizations. I tried to come up with new Theories myself.

Physics taught me to understand “everything” in terms of fundamental constituents and few fundamental laws that govern things we see around us.

Physics made me realize the necessity of learning Higher Mathematics.

Mathematical Olympiad was gaining popularity in Bangladesh at that time (it was 2003). I bought Books and started solving problems.

One of the books published at that time was “নিউরনে অনুরণন” (“Resonance in neurons”). The idea for the name: it’s better to create resonance in your brains’ neurons by solving Mathematical problems rather than leaving the neurons idle!

I found out: the more I worked on problems, the better I could think! My Neurons really were resonating!

My interest in Psychology helped me appreciate brain function improvement and Mathematical Problem Solving. I discovered ways of improving brain function myself.

It was an amazing realization – I could become anyone I wanted if I worked in the right way.

Other Sciences started grabbing my attention.

Psychology drew me to Neuroscience – the Biology of what happens in the mind. Physics led me to Cosmology (the study of the evolution of the Universe) and some of the books described evolution of our planet and Biological evolution. Evolutionary Biology was among my favorites.

At that point, I saw my future as a Scientist: trying to understand the truth and decode the Laws of Nature.

I became interested in Computer Science and Engineering as I read an article portraying the field of Artificial Intelligence. The article was written by Dr. Ali Asgar included in one of his popular science books (Grade 11). I bought Undergrad Texts on Artificial Intelligence and started reading.

Psychology and Neuroscience always grabbed my attention. So when I found out that there is a subfield in CS that tries to emulate intelligence on computers, I got hooked instantly. 

Later, I participated in International Mathematical Olympiad, and met people who were serious participants in programming contests and I felt that I really liked contests and competitions. Besides, computation seem to be everywhere – required in almost every branch. I could do Physics and Biology on Computers. I read an inspirational book (“Medhabi Manusher Golpo” – Prof. Dr Kaykobad) which depicted lives of eminent Computer Scientists and students of Computer Science. The choice was either Physics or Computer Science and Engineering, but my parents wouldn’t let me study Physics. Choosing Computer Science and Engineering also made sense when I considered practical aspects. I thought: I could still pursue my multi-disciplinary interests besides studying CSE at college. 

The Majors I considered at that time included: Computer Science and Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Nanotechnology / Nanoengineering & Bioengineering / Biomedical Engineering.

[If you find my life and my understandings interesting you might like Looking back and connecting the dots.]

Lets move a few years forward … During March / April 2013, I thought, I should analyze and understand and learn from and codify everything I see around me – just as I did with the sciences and engineering. I started with the political situation in Bangladesh. I wanted to figure out what would happen if I start my own Political Party. Next, I applied my analysis to other domains: Mechanical Engineering, Economics, Computer Science.

I discovered new thinking tools along the way. Previously, if I found something interesting, I used to look it up on the Web or download a book. But now, whatever I try to understand, first I develop ‘a model’ in my mind just by thinking and then fill out the blanks in my model by asking questions and reading and learning.

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I come across new understandings and realizations almost on a daily basis. I look forward to share my newer understandings at sometime in not too distant future: “Living to tell the tale”, truly!
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