Discussion: Prof. David S. Stork

Wow! I’m really impressed! I’ve talked personally with Prof. David Stork. The author of the reference textbook Pattern Classification and one the most famous scientists in computer vision. He was with us today at my university and gave a speech about “Computer vision in the study of art: New rigorous approaches to the study of paintings and drawings“.

He asked us about what we are working on and discussed it with us. The reason I’m writing this post is to archive David’s answer for the question I’ve asked to him:

Prof. David, I know that a lot of professors toke Masters and PhD like you but little of them are famous and effective. I’m asking you, what’s the reason of being successful and famous researcher?

His answer was pretty cool. I’ll start by mentioning summary of it then go in explanation. Prof. David answered:

It’s not about solving hard problems rather, it’s about asking smart questions

Being unique comes from solving hard problems that no one has solved before or by asking new smart questions that have not proposed before. As an example, the mathematician David Hilbert is famous with his 23 problems. A lot of professors get educated and are trying to solve the proposed hard problems but few are able to ask smart questions (i.e. propose smart problems). Until now, some of Hilbert’s problems are not solve while he posted them at the start of 90s! The point is, what’s meant by smart question (i.e. problem)? Is it hard problem? Is it complex and huge? Is it general and abstract? Or is it specific and concrete? Actually, there’s no definition for smart questions and this is natural because when this definition is known, all dudes will get used to ask smart questions and it’ll be usual as solving hard problems!