We asked Alec Maddaus from University of New Hampshire to share some thoughts on his experience with PSC2017. Alec held the Monthly Winner title for 6 months in a row! We wanted to know what motivated him. We hope this will help you to go the extra mile! Here is what we learned:
Why did you decide to join?
I participated in the PSC2017 because of a class assignment.
What did you enjoy most about the task?
I enjoyed playing around with different methods of obtaining initial sets of variables and finding areas of improvement until I came across the variables that gave me the best solution I could find.
What did you hope to learn from PSC2017?
I had hoped to learn a bit more about the nature of simulations and how to best optimize them without simply using a brute force technique. I think I was able to learn a fair amount about both through exploratory thinking and a small amount of literature review, with my submitted variables largely being a culmination of observing trends through iteration and using logic to identify what might be the best behaviour of specific controllers, as well as some final iterations to optimize a select few variables.
Why do you think other students should join?
It’s a valuable learning experience that offers direct feedback based on decisions that you make, as well as more closely emulating a real-world system compared to traditional problems that you'd normally complete for class assignments. As an example, you might think that improving the response time of a controller by adjusting the proportional band would allow the system to better handle the larger influx of gas, but it turns out adjusting that parameter increased the amplitude of the oscillatory response and caused the pressure to momentarily exceed the "safe" maximum value and open the safety valve to the atmosphere.
Thanks Alec for sharing your thoughts on PSC2017 challenge.
For anyone who has not submitted variables yet, we hope this will motivate you - Multiple submissions are possible! And you can still compete for the Monthly Winner title of October!
26 October 2017