Sunday, November 1, 2009

Engineer VS Industry Researcher VS Academic Researcher

Hace rato leí un ensayo de C.A.R. Hoare (el creador del algoritmo QuickSort), publicado en el número de octubre 2009 de la revista Communications of the ACM, y hubo 2 ideas que me agradaron. Just sharing.

La primera es acerca de la diferencia entre un ingeniero y un investigador:
As in other branches of engineering, it is the responsibility of the individual software engineer to use all available and practicable methods, in a combination adapted to the needs of a particular project, product, client, or environment. The best contribution of the scientific researcher is to extend and improve the methods available to the engineer, and to provide convincing evidence of their range of applicability.

La segunda, acerca de la diferencia entre un investigador en la industria y un investigador en la academia:
The goal of industrial research is (and should always be) to pluck the 'low-hanging fruit'; that is, to solve the easiest parts of the most prevalent problems, in the particular circumstances of here and now. But the goal of the pure research scientist is exactly the opposite: it is to construct the most general theories, covering the widest possible range of phenomena, and to seek certainty of knowledge that will endure for future generations. It is to avoid the compromises so essential to engineering, and to seek ideals like accuracy of measurement, purity of materials, and correctness of programs, far beyond the current perceived needs of industry or popularity in the market-place. For this reason, it is only scientific research that can prepare mankind for the unknown unknowns of the forever uncertain future.

Este es el ensayo completo.

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