Be a Real Engineer with Real Problems
Be a Real Engineer with Real Problems
  • Lee Do Yup (IME 11)
  • 승인 2016.02.19 18:07
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Many undergraduate students have some experiences of participating in contests or competitions, and I also participated in many competitions and was awarded some prizes. However, when thinking of memorable and special experiences as I am graduating, the Korea Computer Simulation Competition (2014-2015) reminds me of  the reason why I study industrial management engineering. It is because the competition was the most important experience to me as an engineer. In 2014, many safety accidents occurred such as collapse of resort in Gyungju and sinking of ferry Sewol. The whole nation was deeply saddened by hundreds of deaths at that time, but people, including me, couldn’t do anything except pray.
At the end of 2014, I decided to participate in the competition to apply simulation knowledge I had learned. The topic was to maximize patients’ survival rate in disasters such as the sinking of Sewol. At first, my team thought it was simple to solve, because we could make a simulation and optimization model according to suggested variables. As we thought, the problem was solved with high average survival rate easily through some queueing theories. However, we encountered a philosophical dilemma: “Is it a right and reasonable policy to save people’s lives in an emergency?” That is, which is right between saving more severe patients than not and saving people in sequence? Especially, when we treated this as a real problem, it was difficult to decide which people survive or die. The more we were immersed in this problem, the more difficult it became to solve with our simulation and optimization knowledge. In the end, we reviewed some theories of justice, and could upgrade our model adding some perspectives from them.
Finally, we were ranked among the top 5 teams and awarded honorable mention. When I shared this experience as one of the most memorable activities, some people said they couldn’t understand why it was valuable. It was not simple. Even though I was a senior, I had never solved some problems in which my solution was crucial in determining whether someone would live or die. Inversely thinking, it was the first time I thought that an engineer’s decision could change the real world. I imagined that I might have been able to save people who died in the ferry Sewol, if I had been a great engineer at that time. I could feel the efforts to study hard weren’t unfruitful through the simulation competition. Of course, there might be lots of valuable extracurricular activities. However, I strongly recommend participating  in competitions to find the reason why we study our majors and why they are important. The answer is not in the book, but in the world.