Effect of Triplen Harmonics on Electrical Systems

Operation and Maintenance have become complex in modern plants. Energy being one of the most important components of the cost structure, effort is on to save energy as much as possible. As a result three important changes happened over the years.

First, loads have become non-linear in nature based on lean manufacturing principle of producing as much as needed as and when needed to match customer needs and expectations without incurring wastage.

Second, changes and modifications in the electrical drive systems have become a significant improvement activity. Thyristor and SCR drives of yesteryear are now being replaced by precise IGBT (Insulated Gate Bi-polar Transistor) devices. Almost all drives are now fitted or retrofitted with variable frequency drives suitable for different motor frame sizes.

Third, most plants are generating and consuming their own electricity though captive power installed in their facilities.

Though this has given us a lot of advantage it has also brought in some hidden problems. One of the disturbing problems is the growing presence of electrical harmonics that affect equipment performance and disturb smooth operation of a plant.

Whether the presence of harmonics can disturb the operation of a factory or not would depend on the ‘stiffness’ of the power distribution system and the susceptibility of the connected equipment and components like motors, bearings, solenoids, cables, couplings etc.

Harmonics are a big polluter. Such pollution is often carried back into the electric distribution system and may affect neighboring facilities. Such pollution also causes a rise in the consumption of electrical energy – the very thing we are trying to save.

The point is how to detect the presence of harmonics in the system? Vibration spectrums often fail to detect or show up the presence of such harmonics. As a result Current Spectrum Monitoring’ is being used as a preferred technique to detect the presence of harmonics. But this technique does a good job for higher rated motors – generally for motors over 900 KW.

So what do we do for other motors lesser than 900 KW?

There seems to be an easy way out. Harmonics create excessive neutral current. This results in overheated neutrals that might be easily detected by use of Infra-red thermal imaging technique applied to MCC (Motor Control Center) and PCC (Power Control Center).

But there is something very strange about these electrical harmonics.

The ‘triplen’ harmonics i.e. the 3rd, 9th and the 15th harmonics of the line frequency cause more damage to the system and heat up the neutral. Why is that?

This is because these harmonics are actually ‘additive’ (vector addition) in nature in the neutral of a 3 phase ‘wye’ circuit. This is easy to understand. In a 3 phase ‘wye’ circuit the phases are separated from one another by 120 degrees. Now if we multiply 120 by 3 or 9 or 15 we get an integer multiple of 360 degrees, which is one complete cycle. This puts the harmonics from each of the 3 phase conductors in phase with each other in the neutral. Hence the neutral heats up.

Note this would not happen with other harmonics like 2nd, 4th, etc since that would not involve all conductors of the 3 phase to be in phase with each other in the neutral. This I call the prime number effect of number 3 and combination of 3 with other primes like 3, 5, 7 etc.

Triplen harmonics also overheat transformers (especially delta – wye types), affect solenoids (used in hydraulic circuits), lightening ballasts, non-linear loads like computers and indirectly initiates premature failure of anti-friction bearings. In short it creates a random failure pattern across a manufacturing unit, which most often becomes quite puzzling.

Not only the triplen harmonics affect plant reliability but also increases the losses of electrical power since the losses in electrical power are proportional to the square of the harmonic value.

Hence it is important to detect the presence of triplen harmonics for safe and reliable operation of the plant. Fortunately, infra-red thermal imaging comes to our rescue to detect this hidden enemy of plant reliability, availability and performance.

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When would an Elephant Waltz?

Once upon a time, a large industrial group wanted to set up a large, modern and efficient cement plant as a greenfield project. It was an ambitious plan that would help the company capture a big untapped market. Hence, they wanted to bring up the plant as fast as possible.

So, first things first. They got the land and the limestone mine of relatively good quality. And they also got a CEO who they thought would deliver the project on time. Since it was a greenfield project they thought that a very disciplined person would fit the bill nicely. Therefore a senior retired army Colonel was selected for the purpose.

As soon as he was appointed, he set about the task with all seriousness of an army officer. He understood about projects and engagements. He has done that all his life in the army. He understood command and control very well. That was his forte. But though he was an engineer by training he had absolutely no idea what a cement plant was made of.

Hence to deliver a quality project in time, he hit upon a splendid plan backed up by an ‘infallible’ logic. The logic was that he would get the best machines or sub-systems of the plant from the best suppliers of the world and then he would just put them together so that the plant performs as designed, right from the first day. But how would he understand what was the “best” pieces of equipment and subsystems for the plant? He decided to survey the existing plants, go through their records of performance and reliability, collect facts to find out what part or sub-system of the system worked best for Plant X and then what worked best for Plant Y and so on. Reliability would be his benchmark and vision.

So he decided that he would buy the kiln from supplier A and the cooler from supplier B and the hammer crusher from supplier C and the conveying system from supplier D and the cement mill from supplier E and so on.. When he placed his ideas before the board they found his idea to be wonderful. They were convinced that it would take the least time for procurement and for setting up the plant since they would avoid lengthy negotiations and hassles if they decided what to buy and from whom to buy these from. After all it would not pose any problem. They were buying the best things from the best possible suppliers around the globe.

Colonel went about his task with gusto, precision, efficiency and with great care carrying just the right attitude of going to war. None needed to teach him what “war footing” really meant.

Soon, the best pieces of equipment and sub systems were purchased and erected. Time flew past quickly. In no time the modern cement plant was set up. His bosses were extremely happy with the good job done and awarded the Colonel a good bonus and a promotion for completing the project much before time and within budget. Everyone was happy and the plant began operating much before the planned starting date. It was key to capturing the untapped market before others got in.

But very soon a problem emerged. The plant was unable to produce the designed capacity at all. They kept trying harder and harder but the plant refused to change its behaviour. They coaxed people to work smarter and come up with good ideas. Nothing happened. They called in experts. The experts took their fees but the system refused to listen to them. They started training people to no good effect. Then they brought more of the best people to leadership positions. But they also could not make the desired change. People were sacked. New blood was inducted. The system did not budge an inch.

In addition to this another problem surfaced. The plant suffered innumerable breakdowns. One after the other. People were busy fixing things up as soon as things failed. And they kept doing this for years.

12 years passed. The fate of the plant was sealed. Or so it seemed. People were blamed and they were demoralized. The President of the plant was sacked. New leaders took over. A time came when people stopped talking about this plant about which they were so proud of even a few years back. People fought. Blamed each other. Worked hard. And prayed often. But got sacked.

What was happening? What went wrong?

For example, they had the best kiln. Now this best kiln retained more heat than other kilns and therefore was energy efficient and reliable. It meant that the kiln lost less energy and most of it was used to form the clinker. That was good news. Then what was the bad news…?

The clinker that came out of the kiln went over a ‘cooler’ whose function was to cool the clinker. Now this cooler was not designed to match the performance of this kiln or in other words the cooler was not designed to handle the temperature of the clinker that came out this kiln. So by the time the clinker passed over the cooler it did not cool sufficiently enough. After the clinker passed the cooler it entered the hammer crusher. With more than the expected temperature of the ‘cooled’ clinker the hammer crushers performed badly. This was because the hammers wore out in no time owing to the ‘hot’ clinker. They were not designed to handle these ‘hot’ clinkers. The clinkers were still hot enough after being broken into smaller pieces. Now the broken clinker travelled over a rubber belt conveyor (RBC) to the silo for temporary storage. The RBC wasn’t designed to handle the extra temperature and the rougher edges of the clinkers (produced by the bad performance of the crusher). So they often went down necessitating frequent maintenance and replacement and stoppage of the entire system.

Since the production pressures were up the clinker did not stay in the silo for a long time (that also caused defects in the silo) the clinker was taken out in relatively hot condition to be fed to the cement mill. And surely there too, it produced frequent problems. The ripples of the systemic problem was felt up to the bag house (pollution control mechanism). In fact it was everywhere and the plant looked so dirty and dusty that people often did not like to work in such places.

So, in short, every part of the system got affected and strange system behaviours abounded in plenty (emergence). Such emergence inhibited production and the plant could never run as desired. Everyone was busy looking at the parts of the system and trying to improve the parts and make them very efficient. And as expected it never worked. The Elephant refused to dance.

Till a time came when a very talented engineer was placed as the head of the plant. He kept looking at the system for days and started to understand the ‘strong’ relationships between the different parts that caused the problems. He then systemically tackled the issue with lot of patience and right motivation. He started changing, modifying and replacing the parts of the system as needed with the eye to match them well and put them on sync. His focus was not on purchasing the best things or the best parts. He simply went on matching one part to the other so that they can “dance in harmony.”

And the plant started performing extremely well. It started winning prizes for best productivity, least energy consumption, best quality, etc. People were again proud and happy to work. The corporate management was so pleased with the sudden change in performance that they decided to expand the capacity of the plant by putting up a new system along with a new limestone mine.

From then onwards there was no looking back for this plant. Oops! The “Elephant.”

The Elephant continues to waltz merrily.

Natural Frequency – Whole is not equal to its Parts

The concept that a system behaves differently than its parts is a concept which many often find it difficult to understand. By our education and training we are naturally prone to look at parts rather than the system . The idea is that the property of a system is distinctly different to the individual properties of its parts.

Let us illustrate this concept that a system would always behave differently than its parts through a simple example. We would take a physical parameter and then see how this physical parameter, which is a distinct property of a part, would change as soon as two parts are made to work together. For our purpose we would take ‘natural frequency’ as a physical parameter and see how it changes. And we would take the turbine-generator combination — a prime example  to illustrate this phenomenon of system behaviour.

The first natural frequency of the turbine, which is a property of the turbine, when taken alone is 2433 cycles per minute (cpm). Similarly the first natural frequency of the generator, when taken alone is 2124 cycles per minute (cpm).

What happens when we connect the turbine and the generator together through a coupling and make them work together? The natural frequencies of both the turbine and that of the generator would change altogether! Remember that natural frequency is a distinct property of a part.

The combined natural frequency changes in the following manner:

The first natural frequency of the turbine becomes 2028 cpm (drops by 17%) while that of the generator becomes 1806 cpm (drops by 15%). So the first natural frequency of the parts have changed as soon as the parts were put together.

Hence, it is always true that the WHOLE is never equal to its PARTS. Therefore, while designing, maintaining or operating or examining a problem, fault or a failure we would always gain a better understanding by observing a system as a whole and not its parts.

State a Problem in Simplest Terms

The other day, a long-term client of mine called me up to see a problem of theirs. Since it is a public sector organization they soon sent me a RFP (request for proposal) over email with a fairly detailed SOW (Scope of Work).

In the SOW, they mentioned all that needs to be done, almost breaking down each step. In short, they were proposing a detailed method to solve their problem.

When they followed me up over phone, I said, “With such a detailed methodology in place, why would you ever need me?”

Sensing that they did not get it, I elaborated, “Does it mean if you just have the results of those steps that you have listed out you get to the answer you are looking for? Do you think that such detailed investigations, which you have already carried out earlier, would inflate costs without getting anywhere close to the solution?”

Fortunately, they quickly realized the gap. They asked me, “What should we do then?”

I replied, “State your problem in its most basic and simplest terms. Complex, nagging problems can’t be neatly defined. Instead, you could just state your concern about the problem. That would trigger our collective minds to flow easily to reach a solution. For example, you could state that you are suffering from a headache every evening.”

“O.K.” they said, “Our issue is that we are responding as per prescribed textbook rules to solve this problem and the problem seems to be temporarily fixed but it resurfaces after some time.”

“Just state that. And then we follow the cues to get to a working hypothesis, a working methodology to test out the hypothesis, collect data, arrange and interpret the data, collectively understand the issue with the simplest theories that fit the facts of the problem, formulate practical actions, carry out those to test our hypothesis and learn more to eliminate the problem for good.”

In the next fifteen minutes they sent the revised RFP, stating their concern.

By stating a problem in its basic and simplest terms we allow our minds to pay attention to flow effortlessly towards a solution.

That is what is needed when we tackle complex problems – problems for which answers are not available in the books or can’t be googled.

Developing Non-linear Thinking Skills

We know while comprehending complexity, linear logic fails. That appears to the most important reason as to why most people find it difficult to understand complex situations or grapple with complex problems.

With simple linear logic, principles come first and deductions follow. Hence the process may be described as:

Observe -> Model the observations based on relevant domain theory -> apply Principles/mathematics -> Deduction

Fair to say that this standard approach, based on linear logic, is used in science and engineering to solve linear problems. Since this is an efficient way of thinking it dominates our educational, professional and social lives.

But when it comes to solving non-linear complex problems (unfortunately most life problems are non-linear) application of linear logic fails. Instead what is needed is the development of non-linear thinking skills.

In fact, non-linear thinking style is a necessary skill with the larger theoretical framework of digital literacy through multiple format known as transliteracy through transmedia learning environment.

Nonlinear thinking styles are defined as using intuition, insight, creativity and emotions when comprehending and communicating information (Vance, Groves, Paik and Kindler, 2007)

But how to develop non-linear thinking skills?

I would give below a 3 step approach, one of the many approaches I developed for the specific purpose of developing non-linear thinking skills of my adult professional students. This specific technique is christened as the Fugue technique.

1. Think in terms of fugue. In a fugue, all the notes cannot be constrained into a single melodic scale. Compressing everything into one single melodic scale is analogous to modelling a phenomenon or behaviour based on a high level of abstraction, which is the dominant characteristic of linear thinking style. Make this clear to the participating group. It would relieve them of the unnecessary stress of finding the “one right answer” or “one right approach” to a complex problem.

2. Bring people together to tackle a complex problem. Make sure that the participants are familiar with the problem. This means that complex problems are to be selected from the familiar working environment of the participants or problems the participants have grappled with but failed to find a solution.

Putting a number of people together gives us a big advantage. Different people see the same problem in different ways. It would depend on their specific strengths and mental makeup, tendency and practice. Some find some parts of the problem easy to see and understand, which others might find too difficult to even notice. Each member of the group is then encouraged to focus on some parts of the problem that comes easily to them so as to come up with their own unique perspectives and understanding.

Before allowing people to jump in, preferably use different media to present a problem — narrative, story telling, printed material, videos, pictures, data, internet references etc.

3. Invite the group to plunge directly into the midst of things and follow the temporal order created by the thoughts of the different group members. Build upon each others thoughts. Never mind if we get different strings of thoughts to build different lines of thinking, which is the most desired output. Encourage all forms of communication — dialogs, debates, discussions, collaboration, negotiation, etc. Be patient with the flow of time. Activities might show sudden bursts of energy at various points of time. Allow people to express their thoughts through different media – verbal, slide shows, discussions, drawings, doodles, story telling, narratives/presentations, logical interpretation through principles, etc. It is expected that each member communicates in his/her preferred style of communication.

Link the different strings of thoughts or different perspectives to make a collective but coherent understanding of a complex problem without attempting to put them into “one melodic scale.” It means that it is not necessary to align the different perspectives into one linear path. Multiple paths are encouraged. Expecting multiple solutions would be the norm. The output measured against time is exponential when compared to linear approach. It helps in increasing both depth and width of learning. In Nemetic terms the resultant ecology is known as nemePlx or nPx

When a group performs this exercise on many live problems over a span of few days (a four-day long session appears to be just enough), it propels the students to develop their non-linear thinking skills. It also develops their transliteracy skills (a non-linear thinking skill) immersed in transmedia learning environment.

Note:

1. This Fugue technique has been extensively used for Power Plant professionals solving their complex problems.

2. The author is of the opinion that non-linear thinking skills cannot be taught in any explicit manner.

References:

!. Digital Literacy: A Demand for Nonlinear Thinking Styles Mark Osterman, Thomas G. Reio, Jr., and M. O. Thirunarayanan Florida International University, USA http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1321&context=sferc

2. Now you see it: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn Davidson, C., (2011). New York, NY: Penguin

From Emotion to Wisdom to Maturity

The other day, my long term collaborator, in the development of the Nemetics discipline, Michael Josefowicz remarked on Twitter –

“It is interesting that so many serious people have a blind spot for emotions.”

But how important is emotion in shaping our consciousness?

Let us examine the process of evolution or expansion of our embodied consciousness.

The starting premise of my argument is — every human being is a product of an infinite series of interactions, which are extremely diverse in nature.

In Nemetics we term each interaction as a “neme

With every neme, a feeling is generated, which quickly takes the shape of an emotion. Emotion is very qualitative in nature since an emotion can have different shades, like for instance – love. But soon emotions give rise to objective thoughts which gradually develop. In turn, objective thoughts switch on our thinking mind.

A thinking mind will invariably generate desire. More the mind thinks, more it desires.

As soon as a desire is born it would seek actualization. Therefore all desires lead to actions.

Provided we are open and willing, we learn from every action the beneficial and detrimental results of good and bad actions to become wiser. Hence action through learning leads to wisdom.

When wisdom finally matures we become satisfied and perhaps happy with things as they are and as they happen. We deeply realize that any phenomenon would change owing to its dynamic nature that is time, space and constraint dependent. We further realize that there seems to be little point in forcing change things “our” way, finding solutions without a problem to address or invent new problems just for the sake of it or not to address the reality as it emerges.

Maturity then leads us to accept phenomenon as it happens and interact with systems and people just as needed to ensure or enhance flow, harmony and balance of life. In Nemetic terms the phrase for maturity is — “make it ezpz – The Nemetic Way.”

If we now summarize the process of enhancing our embodied consciousness; the train of our reasoning would appear something like this:

Neme -> Feelings/Emotions -> Thoughts -> Desires -> Actions -> Learning/Wisdom -> Ezpz Maturity.

The question I would leave the reader with — How do we make this process really ezpz?

What is stronger — the Written or the Spoken Word?

While some take written word to be inherently superior to the spoken word others believe that what is communicated verbally is inherently stronger than the written word.

This conflict existed for thousands of years. And different civilizations took different stands on this. But the conflict assumes greater importance in the 21st century, especially when ‘transliteracy’ skill (ability to learn from different media and from diverse sources — not necessarily in the written form or within a limited space or limited time period) is now considered to be a vital skill to survive and thrive in the present age.

How to make sense of this conflict?

May be a good starting point might begin by considering what Thamus, the god-king of Egypt, spoke to god Thoth, when he was congratulating Thamus on having invented the alphabet to produce written documents:

“…. this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them.

The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory but to reminiscence and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth.”

(Source: as quoted in de Santillana, p 348)

Today, we learn not only from books but also from many other sources, which are essentially based on human interactions in varied forms of communication through spoken words – some of which are storytelling, dialogs, discussions, debates, global conferences, workshops, negotiations, narrations, collaboration, sharing ability and evidences, coaching, mentoring etc. The media through which such communication flourishes are varied like, emails, cell phones, various social media platforms, direct experience, teaching …. etc.

Surely the volume of spoken word outweighs the written word in our present bit (binary digit) world where often the spoken word is presented in a written format.

If we look back, even two decades earlier, the memory capacity of our computers were going up by the day facilitating storage of ever increasing volume of data (written words). But the trend is now being reversed. Now we are using smart phone, tablets, audio, video, podcasts and net books, which have just enough memory to work smoothly. Software development is giving way to sharing information over shared platforms through development of specific applications.

And perhaps, when faced with increasing complexity, we are all forced to learn on the go — meaning instantly — in the here and now, with the full awareness that what we learn now might be replaced by new learning in the very next moment. The reason for this is simple — all complex situations are so unique that learning from one complex situation may or may not be directly translated to another complex situation, however similar that might seem to be.

Though the learning environment has become more complex than ever before the simplicity in this situation lies in the fact that we are increasingly relying on learning directly from direct human interactions in the form of varied types of conversations in which we become an intrinsic part of our personal learning experience.

For instance, the open learning culture that is expanding very quickly, fundamentally relies on the spoken word (videos, audios and podcasts) on diverse subjects (e.g. MIT opencourseware, Khan Academy) for learning to take place. Such videos are usually supported by brief notes and not elaborate text books (written word).

As I see it, there would be an exponential increase in learning through conversations that would rely more on the spoken word whereas the size of elaborately written documents would continually decrease and be limited to issues where correct transmission might be endangered.

In today’s world, to learn we must become a part of the process that produces the knowledge applicable to our needs. For that to take place, conversations would occupy the center stage of learning. In that case, spoken word would gradually assume greater importance than sole reliance on written words in form of books and textbooks.

It means that the way we would develop and use our mind-body complex would assume utmost importance in the coming years.

Learning Quickly & Adapting Rapidly – A Simple View

If I were to make a very simplified understanding of our brain it would be this:

Our brain has three parts, which are: –

1. The Rear Brain

2. The Mid Brain

3. The Frontal Brain

The Rear Brain

The rear part of the brain is an alarm, which sets off as soon as it senses danger that can threaten survival and life. It works on the principle of ‘fear’ (the modern term is stress) that propels us to either fight or run away. When faced with anything new this part of the brain triggers first. Though for city dwellers, tigers and snakes are mostly not around to scare us to death, this ancient part of our brain sets off alarms by sensing anything which is unusual, uncommon, seemingly big for us to handle, new or doesn’t fit our regular routine or schedule. But isn’t learning all about embracing something new? So we have a big problem to learn quickly and adapt rapidly to changing situations.

The Mid Brain

This part of the brain stores all our sensations and experiences as images including the lessons we learn. It is the memory section. It throws up information as and when we need those. So when faced with something new this part of the brain searches for something similar and prompts us to take note of what is already stored there for us to act. At times, it conjures up new images by combining existing images some of which can be illusory or false, which may create stress or delusion. Under stress, it communicates to the rear brain triggering fight or flight response. When deluded it induces us take actions without thinking of undesirable consequences. Now, these become big problems to learn anything new or different when faced with familiar objects or situations making it difficult for us to pick out something new or different from seemingly familiar patterns. The mid brain would say, “You know that. There is nothing new in the world.” This is because mid brain would force us recognize existing patterns only, which usually prompts routine or scripted behavior as a response. This then poses as a big impediment to learn quickly and adapt rapidly to changing situations.

The Frontal Brain

This is the new part of the brain that is responsible for learning from any situation and under any condition enabling us to create new solutions and new actions. However, this part of the brain isn’t powered up fully so long the mid brain and the rear brain dominate the show. That appears to be a big problem too for learning quickly and adapting rapidly to changes.

So what is the way out?

The way out of the mess may be summed up in a neat mantra — 3S which stands for Slow, Small and Steady.

Slow:

Slowing down offers many benefits. The most important one is relaxation of the body and mind. Once the body and mind are relatively relaxed, the rear brain, which is usually very alert lets down its guard allowing other parts of the brain to act fully. This facilitates learning something new.

Small:

When we notice small and subtle things; think in small pieces and connect those; and take small actions – the rear brain doesn’t interfere since it doesn’t consider small things to pose any danger to survival. Likewise, when we see, think and do small things the mid brain doesn’t quite interfere with the new experience either since it usually fails to conjure up an existing pattern to match the small experiences other than trying to judge by giving it a name and form . So, once we suspend our judgement while experiencing something new the possibility of new learning grows exponentially. However, once the small things are done the mid brain would faithfully store the lessons for better adaptation and survival in the future.

Steady:

So what happens when, over a time, we steadily exchange value through small actions? Obviously, the small actions accumulate, coalesce, combine and recombine in self organizing way to produce new learning, which usually grows wide and deep enough to allow us learn quickly and adapt rapidly to changing situations.

Go Slow. See Small. Engage Slowly, Think Small. Act Small. Go Steady.

That is perhaps the easiest way to learn new things quickly and adapt rapidly to changes promoting resilience and sustainability for organizations, groups, communities and individuals.

Note: This is a part of a forthcoming book — “Sleeping with a Stranger” — a new book belonging to the Nemetics series.

Strange habits of Gunter Grass

Gunter Grass, novelist, artist, Nobel laureate and all-round agitator, died on April 13th, aged 87.

While writing, he had some strange habits such as:

1. It was important for him to say the words aloud while he wrote.

2. The writing of his long dense books was slow, punctuated by coffee and by drawing and sculpting in which he was not only gifted but also trained.

3. Many of his drawings appeared in the books and on their jackets often replacing texts when words failed him.

4. He spoke his mind as he wrote, chewing over the sentences with the same reflective relish he might devote to potato pancakes, roast goose or liver sausage.

My questions are:

1. Why did he do so?

2. Did such habits help him to do better at what he did?

3. What insights we may gain from the habits of Gunter Grass?

Reference:

The Economist, April 18th – 24th 2015, Obituary Gunter Grass — The beat of the drum, page 78.

The Role of Intuition in High Performance

Garry Kasparov was the world’s top chess player for twenty years. Later he became a mentor to young players.

He has this to say about computer assisted learning:

“Everybody has access to the same computers. So I think the brute force of calculation isn’t enough – human intuition is an integral part of successful decision making too. Young players need to hear the greats of the past explain the nature of the game, the rationale of the openings, the ideas behind the moves. They can’t learn by just looking at the screen.”  [Ref: Life’s Work | Harvard Business Review South Asia | April 2015 | page 104]

I completely agree with him. While coaching or mentoring engineers and engineering managers I have seen serious mistakes being made while taking decisions based on established rules. The chance of making such mistakes increases while tackling complex situations and problems.

This is because solving complex problems and taking the right decisions in complex situations needs both reason and intuition. These combine to form right contextual knowledge of a complex situation. Worthwhile to remember that reason forms rules based on existing knowledge, which are, so to say, “Google able”. Whereas, intuition creates new knowledge by making unusual connections, which is commonly known as “out of the box thinking” or “creative thinking.”

Computer aided learning might help develop reason. But how do we develop intuition?

Kasparov offers advice on how to develop intuition.

What might be the other ways, if any?