Basically there are three steps in a loop for algorithm development.
1) Make it work at all.
2) Make it work better.
3) Make it work faster.
Repeat while exist(time/money/energy) == TRUE
Right now the landmine detector has just worked at all. At all. Numbers come out. Those numbers are terrible, and they take forever, but they EXIST!
‘I live!’ screamed the dust speck at uncaring heavens.
So I moved on to step 2, making things work better. Notice how fast isn’t even a consideration yet. To make something work better, I need to get more numbers, so I left my machine up and running overnight. I’ll hit it with 12 hours of processing and see what happens. Maybe fire. Probably data. Maybe good data, maybe bad data, but the data will probably exist in the morning. That’s a pretty big hurdle.
The thing I like about engineering that’s different from physics or bomb disposal is I can make progress just by trying. Just by working at it for a while, I can make progress. It’s not only dumb luck. It’s not only rolls of the dice. Some of it is just grinding. Entrepreneurship and seeking funding is rolling dice, but actually solving the stupid problem, making the blinky lights on the computer blink right, that’s mostly grunts, effort, and relentlessness. The feeling of being able to accomplish something by working, that my fate is in my own hands, is immensely empowering.
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