Web Developer

Problem Solving Methodologies

Problem solving techniques can be applied to both life and the field of computer science. In both instances, there are different methodologies that can be applied; for, the use of a specific methodology is directly dependent on the type of problem that must be solved.

This article will define the different types pf problem solving methodologies, as well as the different types of problems they can solve.

Request-Response-Result MethodologyResponse-Request-Result

The request-response-result methodology works best problems that have clear-cut answers and solutions.

  1. A request is made
  2. Response with steps of a rule
  3. One correct result is acheived

Examples: History exam, use of a calculator, microwave oven, embedded computer system, algorithm.


The IDEAL Problem Solving MethodologyIDEAL

The IDEAL problem sovling methodology works with problems that have a fairly defined outcome but with many solution strategies.

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Define the problem by sorting through relevant information
  3. Explore the possible options through brainstorming
  4. Act on the strategy selected
  5. Look back and evaluate the results of your actions

Examples: Spreadsheet used for a budget, design of a LAN, transforming a case study into software design.


 Circle-Back ModelThe Circle-Back Model

The Circle-Back Model works when a problem has no defined solution and no defined solution strategy. The Circle-Back Model is especially effective in complex, open-ended problems that require as much creativity as they do analytical problem solving skills.

  1. Step 1: Represent the Problem
  2. Step 2: Search for Solutions
  3. Step 3: Implement the Solution (Go to Step 1)

Examples: Creation of a video game, finding a cure for cancer, creating artificial life, creating a global, neural network for law enforcement.


Bits & Bytes (2007), Microsoft Developer Network. URL: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/bb330921.aspx

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