Tuesday, June 26, 2007

OaO Presents: Interview Questions™

It is the year 2047. Software corporations rule the world. Any man, woman, or child wishing to gain employment must endure a grueling interview process in which they are asked to solve insidious "logic problems," that are supposed to "uncover" the job candidate's ability to "pro-actively manage head-space resources to achieve correctness-oriented issue resolution." The times are dark.

One blog dares to expose the secrets of these Corpocratic Inquisitors, giving the citizenry precious time to solve these "problems" before they must face their Prosecutors-Most-Curious. That blog is The Odds Are One.

Someone breaks into your office, takes apart your keyboard, and switches all the letter keys around. The next morning you come in and notice that your keyboard looks strange. You can't remember where the letters used to be, and you can't touch type, so you type your name, which for the duration of this problem is "Dirk," by hunting for and pressing the 'd' key, then the 'i' key, and so on. You look up at the screen and what comes up is, 'gqwy.' So you type G-Q-W-Y using the same method as before, and look at the screen...up comes 'hzob'. You type H-Z-O-B, and look up at the screen, and so on. If you keep doing this for long enough, are you guaranteed that eventually you will see "dirk" typed on the screen? If so, what is the most number of times you'll have to type the four letters you see before you see your name?



Mita said...

I thought that by 2047, our brains would all be wirelessly connected and we wouldn't need such rudimentary devices as the keyboard to communicate. What happens when gqwy types in 'qwerty' by the way? And I think the answer is 7q649.

But really, I think that Dirk should just take a pod to Tahiti. He deserves a break.

Um ... am I hired?

fronesis said...

It's 2047 and Dirk can't touch type, nor can he remember where the keys are on a qwerty keyboard? Dirk's not that bright.

But, taking the question more seriusly, does the number 358,800 play a role in the answer to the question?

Transient Gadfly said...

Even more alarming, it's 2047 and instead of people having cool futuristic names like 'Kleptorg' and 'Zantac 75', they have names like 'Dirk.'

358,800 is the number of possible combinations of letters you could see on the screen when you type 'dirk', (and therefore the number of possible ways the letters 'd','i','r',and 'k' can have been distributed) and if there were no method to your typing madness, that would be the correct answer. But the method that you're using cuts the actual answer way down.