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Experts vs Experiments

It has been a long month, a very long month, without posting here.
The reason, the excuse: I had to attend to a sick relative.
Nooo. It wasn’t Covid.
When I said I had a relative in hospital, the immediate question was Covid’s?
Well, no. There are still other illnesses.

The good news: we know what it is, how to treat it and it is out of the hospital.
What struck me most: It took three and a half weeks to get a diagnosis.
It always seems that a diagnosis has to be something simple. You go to the expert, tell him what’s wrong and he immediately prescribes the prescription that will save you.
Sometimes he will ask you to have some tests to confirm his theory and that’s it.
But it’s not always that simple.

As a computer scientist I have experienced it many times: Why does it generate this error? Why does it work so slowly? Why does it sometimes hang?
It seems that you immediately have to have the answer.
The job is simply how to solve it.

But the reality is not like that. It often takes a lot of time and testing and even more or less complicated interventions to get to the diagnosis.
And once you have the diagnosis, the resolution may be almost immediate.
But it is not unusual to spend days, weeks or even months to find the root of the problem.

In this medical case this has been the situation. The problem was identified from the beginning, but the cause was not known.
Theories were put forward and changes were tried to see the reaction. But none of them gave the expected results.
An intervention would resolve all the doubts, but it had significant risks that we tried to avoid.
And these changes, these tests, each required several days to see how the patient reacted.
To come to the conclusion that this was not the case either.


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And, for the patient, it starts to become desperate when weeks go by without results.
Admitted to the clinic. Practically unable to move. Week after week.
Until finally technology comes to the rescue: an unusual test, requiring special equipment, is obtained, approved and within a few days explains the problem.
And once the diagnosis is made, it only takes three days to get the issue under control and the patient can go home and get back to normal life.
A test you have passed!

As the saying goes: experience is a skill.
Often, even in projects in which I was not involved on a day-to-day basis, just by being told the symptoms I could tell the developer where to look for the problem.
Not always, of course. But years of working with software constitute an impressive database.
We can also call it intuition.
And in the same way it can be applied to any other field.

When something is critical it is worth going to the expert. Because we can’t pay the price that trial and error experimentation requires.