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Stripping away everything inessential was just what helped Shannon get to the essence of information.No matter the problem, Shannon said, "cut it down to size." Shannon admitted that this process could file a problem down to almost nothing, but that was precisely the point: "You may have simplified it to a point that it doesn't even resemble the problem that you started with; but very often if you can solve this simple problem, you can add refinements to the solution of this until you get back to the solution of the one you started with." Bob Gallager, a Shannon graduate student who went on to become a leading information theorist himself, saw this process of radical simplification in action.And the staying power of their respective products reveals that it is a target worth aiming for.
Jobs became a kind of student of the simple, and he drew his inspiration for Apple products from others who had managed to excise the unnecessary: the architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler, for instance, and the designers of the Zen gardens around Kyoto.Geniuses are rarely the best teachers, the best critics, or the best explainers.So it's rare to come across a genius's account of "how genius works." But such accounts do exist, and we were lucky enough to unearth one near the end of our research into the life of Claude Shannon (1916-2001), the intellectual architect of the information age. Engineers must learn new ways to solve problems in these countries.3. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, manufacturing in the U. produced 19,237 trillion BTUs and 1,071 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.4. The contributions to our energy production from renewables and other new fuel sources are growing at 6% per year according to BP and will contribute 45% of the increment in energy production by 2035.5. Meanwhile, according to a UCLA study, 40% of students enrolled as STEM majors switched subjects or failed to get a degree.7. The Renewable Resources Journal reports that the world’s population will grow by 2 billion over the next two decades, 95% of this in developing or underdeveloped countries. Europe leads the way in sustainability, with seven out of the world’s top 10 most sustainable cities, according to the ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index.6. By 2018, the United States will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs.He describes coming to Shannon's office one day with a new research idea full of "bells and whistles." For Shannon, though, bells and whistles were just a distraction and he proceeded to take the problem apart piece by piece. At a certain point, I was getting upset, because I saw this neat research problem of mine had become almost trivial.As Gallager said: "He looked at it, sort of puzzled, and said, 'Well, do you really need this assumption? But at a certain point, with all these pieces stripped out, we both saw how to solve it. Educating first world engineers to understand how to solve third world problems. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our aging infrastructure a D grade and estimates that .6 trillion dollars must be invested by 2020 to bring our roads, bridges, water, electrical and sewage systems to proper safe working order.2.' And I said, well, I suppose we could look at the problem without that assumption. And then he said, again, 'Do you need this other assumption? And then we gradually put all these little assumptions back in and then, suddenly, we saw the solution to the whole problem.And that was just the way he worked." It's a useful lesson, even for those of us not grappling with high-level mathematics.