# Problem Solving Approach

### Problem Solving Approach

**Problem is any conflict or difference between one situation another that we wish to produce.**

A problem has 3 components.

- A current situation that has to be changed.
- A desired situation
- Legal moves.

#### Rules in Problem solving:

**Algorithm: –** These are set of rules which if followed correctly will guarantee a correct solution. For example, rules of multiplication or addition if followed correctly yield a correct solution.

**Heuristics: –** These are strategies usually based on your past experience with the problems, that are likely to lead to a solution but do not guarantee success. These heuristics are logical guesses. They are short cut rules of thumb that often lead to quick solutions. Heuristic are simplex and less demanding strategies as compared to algorithm, but they may or may not yield correct solution.

A **heuristic** of particular use in the solution of problems with well-defined initial state & the goal state is means-end analysis. The heuristic compares the current state of the problem with the desired (solution) & tries to find means of reducing or eliminating the differences detected. This Approach is useful for solving problems like the chess or working through mathematical Proofs.

**Backward search** is a kind of means end analysis where the individual starts at the goal state & works backward to the given initial state. This strategy is useful in case of those Problem where the goal has more information than the given problem & the nature of the problem is such that operation can be conducted both in a forward & backward direction.

**Problem Solving Steps **

### Understanding the problem

This stage involves defining the problem & collecting the information that the problem solver feels is essential for finding the solution to the problem.

### Devising a Plan

In this stage the problem solver looks into his Long Term Memory (LTM) for a plan of solving the problem or the production system. He tries to retrieve useful information & tries to find out if he has tackled a similar problem before & if he has, then how did he proceed. In this case he might try to use the same production system on which he had succeeded before the need be he might introduce some alteration in it or even create a new plan.

### Carrying out the Plan

In the third stage a person carries out his/her Plan of action Which he/she has either retrieved from his/her LTM or has recently thought out. If the Production System has few steps & is worked out in detail, then this stage can be completed quickly & with few errors.

However, if it involves several steps or if it leaves several steps to be taken under certain condition then this stage can be consuming as well as error prone

### Evaluation & Looking back

Problem solver tends to evaluate the results or look back after he has carried out a plan. He compares the solution with the encoded problem (i.e initial stage) in his memory. He next evaluates the steps carried out while executing their production system. If he feels necessary, that this the production system. If he feels necessary, that this production system might be useful in solving other problems in future then he might encode & store retrieval cues associated with the given production System in his LTM.