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alethiophile comments on Joy in Discovery - Less Wrong

29 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 March 2008 01:19AM

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Comment author: alethiophile 29 September 2010 12:32:00AM 2 points [-]

Quite a while ago, I was working on a toy OS kernel that I was writing, trying to implement proper multitasking, and ran into a consistent bug--every time I booted with multitasking enabled, the machine would immediately page fault. I struggled with this for several weeks, and eventually solved it by looking through the assembler dump of the kernel as I ran it instruction-by-instruction--which is really hard, tedious work. When I eventually solved it, I got a really great feeling, perhaps analogous to the first-discovery that you describe. The difference, of course, being that this problem, while quite probably something no one else (or at least, no one else in this particular universe) knew the answer to, was not really significant in any way; it related solely to my own inability to sufficiently visualize the actions of the compiler. Still got a great feeling. I'm inclined to believe that the first-discovery high is mainly a function of finding the solution to a problem you've worked on for a long time.