Talk:1831: Here to Help

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So who else read the "Six months later" caption in the voice of the French narrator from SpongeBob Squarepants? 172.68.58.41 23:26, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

So I'm not the only one who does that! Dontknow (talk) 00:00, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Gosh, is Randall making a parallel to someone else who only recently announced that his job is hard, and that nobody knew how complicated things could be? Seems like a clear poke at Trump to me. 108.162.246.23 23:43, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

EVERYONE feels like that after the election. Get over it. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 23:50, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Between algorithms and "objectively" establishing that a problem is hard, I took this to be a reference to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NP-hardness … --162.158.222.16 00:31, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

While the people originally having the problem (Megan and Hairy in this case) may not appreciate it (because it wouldn't help SOLVING the problem), establishing that some problem is not only "hard" but specifically NP-hard, AI-hard, equivalent to halting problem or for example equivalent to axiom of choice is important scientific result. -- Hkmaly (talk) 02:03, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Rather than referencing The Imitation Game, the sentence "[...] now that I'VE tried, we KNOW it's hard." may be referencing instead Awakenings (1990), where Robin William's character says something similar near beginning of the movie.

Regarding the (possible) reference to the Imitation Game, whilst it may be true that the Americans Russians French and Germans thought Enigma unbreakable, the Polish had been breaking it for years before Turing got involved and work done in Poland was an important part of the British success early in the war. German improvements to operating practices later stopped the Polish methods working and yes Turing had better methods that still worked, later on in the war. But Poland at least, didn't think it was unbreakable. Just saying.

While we are "just saying". The Germans were well aware that the Enigma was breakable, they just figured it would be too much effort. It really was, the total resources pored into breaking the Enigma was on par with the Manhattan project and the moon landing (ie US space program during the 1960s). The Germans did some changes to increase security during the war, but had they suspected how completely Enigma was broken they would probably have abandoned it. 172.68.182.202 17:50, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

I think the whole paragraph about informatics at the bottom is missing the point. That explanation is based on the premise that Cueball was told the problem was a "hard problem" (a formal type of problem) and didn't understand. Megan never used the formal term "hard" in describing the problem. She merely said that her field had struggling for years.162.158.79.5 13:13, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Agreed — she uses "hard", but later in the title text. What's still true is that the problem might still have a solution that is "simple" (you can explain it in a paragraph) but hard-to-find (it took decades to find it), and they haven't proved that's not the case. But most would still call a problem with such a solution "hard".
Worse, as a PhD student in CS (programming languages), I'm pretty sure "hard problem" in CS also mean the same as in everyday life—"Boy, this research problem is really hard"—as opposed to NP-hard (which is what the description is attempting to describe in an extremely informal way. I've honestly never heard anybody use "hard" for "NP-hard", though that appears used on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_complexity_theory#Hard. Meanwhile, I went ahead and deleted "Set of algorithms" since that was even less relevant (and didn't bother arguing relevance). http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=1831:_Here_to_Help&diff=139534&oldid=139519. --Blaisorblade (talk) 14:26, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, but we're shown some arbitrary problem which Cueball is solving not with Bayesian Inference, or Object Oriented Programming, or String Theory, but with Algorithms -- the one technique where showing something is hard is a formal term. It would be quite a coincidence if this happened by accident.

The current explanation is taking a too tactical or literal approach. Throughout history computer science has presented itself as a solution to a variety of hard problems in other fields using a variety of techniques. These include AI, machine learning and now, big data. In most cases the techniques enter with a lot of fanfare, but later flame out, producing no real gains towards solving the hard problem. For example see all the things that computers were promising back in the 1960's. Cueball simply represents a generic version of these past and present CS fads. Sturmovik (talk) 15:42, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Fixed: Throughout [most of] history computer science has [not existed].

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