Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A heuristic algorithm for safer driving

The scariest moments in driving have been during overtaking. Normally, it is when someone is overtaking from the opposite direction but it also happens when someone is overtaking me and finds oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, at times, I am also guilty of it. After each such occasion, I make every effort to update my rule set of when not to overtake.

Anyway, my algorithm is that I must drive in a manner and speed by which the total number of overtakes is minimized - that is whether I am overtaking or someone else is overtaking me.

The next rule I found is that if I stick to official speed limit, almost every car and many trucks will be overtaking me. This is clearly dangerous.

Traffic seems to be clustered around certain speeds. The best option for me is to drive in the tail of the high speed cluster. This seems to minimize the number of additional vehicles I need to overtake and seems to minimize the number of vehicles trying to overtake me especially since the vehicles behind me do not lose patience, which they would do if they perceive that I am traveling far too slowly for their taste.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Motivation and Education

Is a teacher supposed to motivate students or should it be the reverse?

By the time one reaches college, I expect that the person should already be interested in the subject.

Motivation by a teacher can be for a student to go beyond what is expected.

Queries from students about the minimum to pass makes one wonder - why bother :)

Or perhaps it is time to accept that the existing system of education is broken.

The most common questions I had to deal with or raise in my professional work have been related to time. Why will it take so long? Why did it take so much time?

Time is the constraint. It would be good to move away from a common amount of work in a fixed time duration and differentiate on the basis of the quality of work in this duration period.

Hour long lectures are boring. It is even worse with video lectures.  A few of the videos I saw on https://www.ai-class.com/ were wonderfully correct length! Less than 2 minutes each.

What if we moved to a system where each student has to be 'certified' in a course, rather than just passing it. The courses need not even have lectures or may have just a few lectures compressed in a short time. The lectures need not be followed by exams.

At the end of 3 or 4 years, a student can be given a degree based on some minimum 'certification' requirements. Differentiation between students would be based on the number of courses in which a student is certified or the time period in which he or she achieved the goal.