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Problem-Solving | The Cornerstone of the Programming and Development Industry

To be a programmer, is to be a problem-solver, as this is the beating heart of any industry, driving creation and innovation while charting the next steps of an ever-extending journey. As a programmer, your job is not only to write code and develop systems but to think up innovative and efficient solutions to complex problems that your organisation may face. 

Throughout their existence, major corporations, such as Tesla and Facebook have encountered issues that necessitate innovation and imagination. Let’s journey through the developments of the last five years and see how problem-solving has shaped the industry’s landscape.

1. 2019: Google’s Quantum Supremacy

Google has journeyed into the quantum computing realm and the capabilities of their programmers have been vital to their success. The contribution of quantum algorithms by programmers to solve near-term practical problems has proved to be the major catalyst of this technological development. Quantum algorithms, such as Shor’s and Grover’s algorithms, use quantum features to solve specific problems more effectively than traditional algorithms.

Problem: Classical computers struggle to solve certain problems efficiently, like simulating quantum systems (systems that obey the laws of quantum mechanics) or optimising complex algorithms. 

Solution: In 2019, Google demonstrated a quantum computer that solved a specific problem faster than any classical supercomputer. Their 53-qubit processor completed a task in seconds that would have taken traditional computers millennia. This technological breakthrough allowed Google to unleash its quantum computing technology to solve real-world problems. 

Google’s Sycamore processor executed a random quantum circuit and outperformed even the most advanced classical supercomputers. This milestone proves that quantum computing is more than theoretical—it’s a powerful tool for solving previously unresolved problems.

2. 2020: Zoom’s Scalability Challenge

The pandemic brought with it a multitude of problems, but for Zoom, the video conferencing platform, keeping up with demand was their main issue. In a space of weeks, the demand for a stable, interactive and productive video conferencing platform rocked the world and Zoom had to step up to provide their users with exactly that. 
: Zoom faced major scalability issues with the sudden demand from users globally for use of their platform for meetings, connecting socially and for income purposes.

Solution: Zoom’s engineers worked quickly to optimise its infrastructure. They increased server capacity, lowered latency, and strengthened security. Their problem-solving efforts enabled Zoom to support millions of concurrent users, making it a household name during lockdowns.

Zoom’s success story emphasises the importance of scalability in modern software and is underpinned by developers and programmers responding swiftly to problems faced by users. Scalability guarantees smooth user experiences even under heavy loads, whether for video calls, e-commerce transactions, or social media engagements.

3. 2021: Tesla’s Autopilot Conundrum

Bringing the future to life is what Tesla is known for. Unfortunately, these advancements do not always go off without a hitch – just as Tesla found out. Tesla’s autopilot project is a game changer for road safety, but its reliability was soon brought into question in 2021. 

Problem: Following a series of high-profile incidents, Tesla’s Autopilot system was criticised for its inability to consistently deal with a range of real-life scenarios. Balancing safety, autonomy, and real-world unpredictability was a massive undertaking that raised many questions from consumers.

Solution: Tesla’s engineers fine-tuned their neural networks, gathered enormous quantities of real-world driving data, and iterated on their autonomous driving algorithms. While full autonomy remains difficult, Tesla’s problem-solving methodology has resulted in some of the most advanced vehicles on the road.

Tesla’s Autopilot system relies on deep learning models to read sensor data and make driving decisions. The lies in how to achieve topline performance across a range of driving scenarios. Tesla has continued their development on this, combining AI research with real-world testing, putting their problem-solving skills to work. If this feature excites you, read more about how the Tesla autopilot feature works. 

4. 2022: Facebook’s Content Moderation Crisis

As more and more people gain access to the internet and social media, the spread of harmful content and misinformation gains traction. One such platform that suffers from a barrage of this is Facebook. 2022 saw Facebook grapple with the dichotomy of allowing information sharing and free speech, but also needing to moderate said information to guard against dangerous content.

Problem: Facebook, with its massive user base, faced an overwhelming moderation challenge.

Solution: Facebook put their faith in AI as a solution to their growing issue. The social media platform trained AI models to detect harmful posts, misinformation and graphic content by its users. The model could be better, but its introduction has seen a significant reduction of untoward content, working to protect users and maintain a healthy and safe online environment. 

Facebook’s content moderation algorithms analyze text, images, and videos to identify violations of community standards. The challenge lies in striking the right balance—removing harmful content without stifling free expression. Facebook’s ongoing efforts demonstrate the importance of problem-solving in maintaining a safe online space.

5. 2023: Amazon’s Last-Mile Delivery Dilemma 

Time is money and Amazon is aware that consumers prioritise speedy deliveries. To differentiate themselves from competitors, Amazon promises lightning-fast delivery through their Last-mile delivery system. This refers to the last leg of a delivery’s journey – Amazon sends packages to a local transportation hub. When a shipment arrives at the hub, a last-mile carrier picks it up and transports it to its final destination. A threat to this promise is the inevitable congestion of cities and busy suburbs. The solution? Advanced technology.

Problem: Congestion in certain areas prevents Amazon from making good on their promise of a lightning-fast delivery. 

Solution: Amazon experimented with drones, delivery robots, and optimized routing algorithms. Dynamic Delivery Planner (DDP) provides Amazon customers with the optimal route sequence, delivery time window, and real-time routing. They used reinforcement learning (RL) and graph neural networks (GNNs) to analyse real-world data from the Amazon Last Mile Routing Research Challenge. DDP can do real-time rerouting to address continually changing traffic circumstances and client time frames when cars are already on the road. This relentless problem-solving led to faster, more reliable deliveries, transforming the e-commerce landscape.

Amazon’s innovations involve robotics, machine learning, and data-driven decision-making. The difficulty is balancing speed, affordability, and environmental impact. By addressing this challenge head-on, Amazon continues to change customer expectations in the realm of online shopping.

Kickstart Your Career

The programming and development industry relies on problem-solving. Companies innovate in a variety of areas, including quantum computing, scalability, self-driving cars, content moderation, and last-mile deliveries. Whether you’re a seasoned programmer or just starting your coding journey, the ability to tackle problems and find effective solutions to them will set you apart.

Swinburne Online is your key to developing your problem-solving skills, bringing you to the forefront of the programming and development industry. Our courses are designed to put your theoretical knowledge into practice, ensuring your preparedness for the working world. 

If you feel ready to tackle real-world issues with your problem-solving skills, our Graduate Certificate of Programming and Development may be the perfect course for you. Still unsure about whether this is the right journey for you? Fill out an enquiry form and one of our course consultants will get in touch to guide you through your enquiry.