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FOT Community => Links => Topic started by: buffcoat on June 26, 2011, 05:27:41 PM

http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/spoofs_satire/define_the_ratio_of_people_to_cake.php (http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/spoofs_satire/define_the_ratio_of_people_to_cake.php)
Google: You are climbing a staircase. Each time you can either take one step or two. The staircase has n steps. In how many distinct ways can you climb the staircase?
There’s a typo in your question, there, dude. You said “n,” but I think you were supposed to put a number.

http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/spoofs_satire/define_the_ratio_of_people_to_cake.php (http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/spoofs_satire/define_the_ratio_of_people_to_cake.php)
Google: You are climbing a staircase. Each time you can either take one step or two. The staircase has n steps. In how many distinct ways can you climb the staircase?
There’s a typo in your question, there, dude. You said “n,” but I think you were supposed to put a number.
Ok, I tried my hand at it and did not do so well. The i did a little googling and a little checking and it turns out that the number of distinct ways to climb the stairs is equal to the n+1th Fibonacci number. But i do not blame myself for not knowing. I'm not too heavy into combinatorics or number theory.
Straight from wikipedia:
Most identities involving Fibonacci numbers draw from combinatorial arguments. F(n) can be interpreted as the number of sequences of 1s and 2s that sum to n − 1, with the convention that F(0) = 0, meaning no sum will add up to −1, and that F(1) = 1, meaning the empty sum will "add up" to 0. Here the order of the summands matters. For example, 1 + 2 and 2 + 1 are considered two different sums and are counted twice.

I suppose most applicants to Google should have some idea about this? I know what a Fibonacci sequence IS, but I wouldn't think of it.
I would have said, "I'm going to assume that n is 1."
The other questions on there are more absurd. I was originally going to say absurdist, but that would imply that the people who wrote them were in on the joke.
A friend of mine's response was, "you know, a hiring committee spent a loooong time coming up with these questions."
Groupthink is painful!

I suppose most applicants to Google should have some idea about this? I know what a Fibonacci sequence IS, but I wouldn't think of it.
I work in a pretty math heavy field, and one of my coworkers used to ask a variant of the stair problem in interviews. He was more concerned that the interviewee thought about the question, tried to use logic to answer and could explain their reasoning, rather than getting the right answer. He said he only really penalized one person for their answer, and they basically tried to bluff their way through.

I suppose most applicants to Google should have some idea about this? I know what a Fibonacci sequence IS, but I wouldn't think of it.
I would have said, "I'm going to assume that n is 1."
The other questions on there are more absurd. I was originally going to say absurdist, but that would imply that the people who wrote them were in on the joke.
A friend of mine's response was, "you know, a hiring committee spent a loooong time coming up with these questions."
Groupthink is painful!
Well, a question like "Estimate how many planes are in the sky." is more open to interpretation (meaning ways of attacking or on the other hand misunderstanding the question) but I think what Pregnant Pause said is correct. It's more of an assessment of problem solving ability and persistence facing a difficult task.
But nonetheless it sounds pretty crazy.

The original one of these was "how many phone booths are in New York City" (in a stunning example of antiflyovercountry logic, you got points for correctly estimating the number of streets and avenues and for removing Central Park).
Nowadays, the answer to that question would be "What's a phone booth, dude?" or "Working ones? I think the one outside my uncle's pizzeria works sometimes. I'll say one."

This is kind of an old one: 'What if Richard Feynman applied for a job at Microsoft?' http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php (http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php)
I suppose that it's Microsoft and not Google makes it obvious it's a bit old, though.

This is kind of an old one: 'What if Richard Feynman applied for a job at Microsoft?' http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php (http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php)
I suppose that it's Microsoft and not Google makes it obvious it's a bit old, though.
That one is fun, even though it is fictional. Also the lectures recorded of Feynman are very enjoyable to listen to.

This is kind of an old one: 'What if Richard Feynman applied for a job at Microsoft?' http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php (http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php)
I suppose that it's Microsoft and not Google makes it obvious it's a bit old, though.
"I am a realist, I don't respond to hypotheticals."
Then I would go back to Wendy's for my night shift.

This is kind of an old one: 'What if Richard Feynman applied for a job at Microsoft?' http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php (http://hebig.org/blog/003029.php)
I suppose that it's Microsoft and not Google makes it obvious it's a bit old, though.
Whats Microsorft?

long ago, there was this thing called 'Microsoft Bob'...

long ago, there was this thing called 'Microsoft Bob'...
If I could physically kill any inanimate object, it would still be Windows 95.