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Occam's Razor

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: Occam's razor has many applications but recently I used it as a coach for a First Lego League team.  The children were making increasingly complex Lego contraptions and in order to reign them in, I introduced the concept of Occam's razor which didn't dismiss their complex efforts but challenged them to think of simpler solutions.  After a while, all I had to do was simply say "is this consistent with Occam's razor" and they'd go back and find a better solution.

From Wikipedia: Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor[1]), often expressed in Latin as the lex parsimoniae, translating to law of parsimony, law of economy or law of succinctness, is a principle which generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects.[2] For instance, they must both sufficiently explain available data in the first place.

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

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