SMT007 Magazine

SMT-Sept2016

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58 SMT Magazine • September 2016 Occam's razor suggests that when confront- ed with several competing solutions to a prob- lem, the simplest solution is normally the best one (or, the correct one). This 14 th -century prin- ciple suggested by William of Ockham has had seven centuries of positive reinforcement to demonstrate its wisdom. Question: For a given problem, when is a complex solution preferred over a simple solu- tion? Answer: When the problem is government funded and you rely on government funding for your livelihood. By the end of the 18th century the world had a vexing problem: The lack of a standardized system of weights and measures. Global mercan - tilism (trade) exacerbated the dilemma that al- ready severely plagued commerce between states in the nascent United States. The trading coun- tries (and individual states) were confronted with a measurement hodge-podge that rivaled today's quantum theory in complexity [1] . Within the United States, each state had its own system. So the size of a bushel in Maryland was different than that in Georgia. Surveying land in the new America was cru- cial since the sale of this land was an important source of revenue to help pay the revolutionary war debt. Again, confusion reigned as an acre of land on a forested plot was larger in size than an acre of land on a treeless lot. The Gunter Chain, a tool adopted in the 17th century, helped by providing a standard length. It also tried to reconcile the English sys - tem based on increments of four (it was 66 feet long—a foot being 12 inches), and the new deci- mal system based on 10 (it was composed of 100 links). An acre was equal to 10 square chains [2] . by Tom Borkes THE JEFFERSON PROJECT The Child is Father of the Man: Turning the Relationship Between the Electronic Product Assembly Employer and Recent Graduates Upside Down JUMPING OFF THE BANDWAGON

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