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Patrick Honner's profile photoJohn Cook's profile photoSuresh Venkatasubramanian's profile photoPancho Eliott's profile photo
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This reminds be a bit of the principle that it is often easier to solve a more general problem than the specific one.
 
+Patrick Honner During my candidacy exam, my advisor asked me a simple question that I could not answer. He then said "Let me ask you a harder question." I was still lost. Then he said "Let me ask you an even harder question." Then I got it. He made the question sufficiently abstract that I could recognize it.
 
Cf the theory of approximation algorithms for NP-hard problems - cant solve it exactly easily, but can get close easily, and for some problems it just gets harder and harder as you get closer and closer
 
In David wells book on curious and interesting numbers he states that actually 51 is the first uninteresting number and thus is the most interesting number.
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