Small Group Discussions

There is one thing that has been making my days go by faster this week. Group discussions/brainstorming. 🙂 I may be a complete introvert, but I still find that (small) group discussions are great at both passing time and solving problems.

And the best of these discussions are the impromptu ones. The ones where you have a question, you turn and face the others in the room and put it out there and see what happens. Sometimes the whole discussion lasts barely a minute as the problem is easily solved. And others can last over an hour, as you get deep into an issue and search for a solution.

This summer, I’m finding we have a great group for discussions in the lab. Most of the people are (or are becoming) comfortable in actually sharing their opinion (which I’ve had problems getting from others in the past). Some of the discussions involve all of us, while others are are just two or three of us. But all of them (that I’ve been involved in so far) have been really useful.

In a sense, we’re continuing this atmosphere for our interns this summer, as we have them working together on a project. Neither of them know how to do what they’ve been assigned to do, past a very general idea. And the two of them working together means that they can bounce ideas off someone else, and test things together. So far this is working well and they were even exploring and teaching themselves some code (yay!). There’s an actual term for what they’re doing, called pair programming, that mostly applies. Only most of what they’ll do won’t actually require programming, but the concept still applies.

Yesterday was a great example of discussions – in that I had a ton of them. And while I didn’t get a lot of my own work done, I did get to dive into other areas of computer science that I never get to work in anymore, and that was a lot of fun. But, while I may not have written many lines of code or done all that much testing, I did still walk away with new solutions for some problems and new ideas too add to what I’m doing. So a success all around.

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