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Got questions about problem solving in engineering?

K31309_cover_2.jpgWe are collecting questions to ask Melisa Buie, who is Director of Operations at laser technology supplier Coherent and author of the forthcoming book Problem Solving for New Engineers: What Every Engineering Manager Wants You to Know.


Melisa has more than 20 years of experience in engineering, operations and manufacturing. Her book provides a fresh approach to practical problem solving in engineering. The book covers critical concepts and the strategy necessary to solve problems efficiently, and it also discusses predictors of success, including cognition, conscientiousness and curiosity.


Melisa will be our guest on Analytically Speaking, on Wednesday, March 8, at 1 p.m. ET. Submit a question for Melisa in the comments section below. We will try to get to as many questions as possible at the end of the webcast.

Not sure what to ask? This might inspire a question


In the book’s foreword, SAS co-founder John Sall writes:


It is a very competitive, challenging world economy out there. In big companies, often their flagship products were invented long ago, meaning that the original patents have expired and the competitors have had time to get very good. It becomes a race to get the last ounce of performance, to eke out the next opportunities to save on cost, to adapt to the next iteration of design, to pursue the next opportunities to add value. And when the volume is high, the incremental improvements can be worth millions, even billions, even deciding whether or not the company survives its competition. Developing those improvements usually means conducting well-designed experiments and understanding the process behavior in detail.


The newer innovations also exist in a very challenging environment. Each innovation comes with different problems to solve, many of which depend upon a designed experiment to show the best path.


Sadly, much of the scientific and engineering curricula in many universities around the world fail to adequately prepare students to think about the data they need and the statistical methods required, such as the ones described above, for them to be more effective problem solvers. As a result, this gap is most often filled through internal training within the organization or via professional education. Thankfully, there are a few educators who see the need to prepare new scientists and engineers with proven problem-solving skills. Melisa Buie is one of them, which she has demonstrated as an instructor at San Jose State University, as a mentor to fellow professionals within industry, and now as the author of this wisdom-filled book.

Webcast highlights

Watch the interview with Melisa to learn:

  • How to keep your audience from struggling to understand your work.
  • Why others should review your experimentation process.
  • The importance of planning.
  • Silicon Valley’s need for more statistically savvy scientists and engineers.
  • Repeatability in experimentation – and how it builds our experimental muscle.

Share your question, and then join us March 8 for the answer!

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