👓 Bob Gallager on Shannon’s tips for research | An Ergodic Walk

Annotated Bob Gallager on Shannon’s tips for research (An Ergodic Walk)

Gallager gave a nice concise summary of what he learned from Shannon about how to do good theory work:

  1. Simplify the problem
  2. Relate it to other problems
  3. Restate the problem in as many ways as possible
  4. Break the problem into pieces
  5. Avoid getting locked into thinking ruts
  6. Generalize

As he said, ‚Äúit‚Äôs a process of doing research‚Ķ each one [step] gives you a little insight.‚ÄĚ It‚Äôs tempting, as a theorist, to claim that at the end of this process you‚Äôve solved the ‚Äúfundamental‚ÄĚ problem, but Gallager admonished us to remember that the first step is to simplify, often dramatically. As Alfred North Whitehead said, we should ‚Äúseek simplicity and distrust it.‚ÄĚ

I know I’ve read this before, but it deserves a re-read/review every now and then.

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