The Photography Contest

This is an old story, but perhaps worth repeating. My students have heard it too many times and I tell it to myself even more often. Since I have no idea what the original source is, I’ll just paraphrase:

A local camera store announces that it’s holding a photography contest. This guy submits a panoramic picture taken from a mountain top. It’s not bad, but when the winners are announced, his photo isn’t among them. The next year the camera store runs another contest and the guy submits the same picture. Again, it doesn’t win. This continues for several more years and finally one of the judges starts wondering what’s going on and says to the guy: “Why do you keep submitting the same photograph every year? It’s not prize-winning material.” The guy says: “But it took so much work getting to the top of that mountain.”

Any resemblance to real computer systems research, living or dead, is not coincidental.

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