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Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20120927 08:08
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by
Bubblicious
(unregistered)

Regardless of your talent or ability, I would have failed you based on your people skills. After reading your responses, it's increasingly apparent you're unable to get along with your peers. You could be the 2nd coming of Sir Isaac Newton, but I would not recommend hiring you. You would only manage to piss off all our coworkers, clients, and customers. You would alienate our team within our company and make our work much more difficult to accomplish. I think the only work environment suitable for you is a solitary office in Antarctica where your nearest coworker is several thousand miles away. Not to worry though. You'll receive drop shipments of supplies on the first day of every month. You can upload your completed work via file transfer over HAM radio. 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20120927 08:20
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by
Dave the Snave
(unregistered)

Come on, the interviewer was trying to see how the candidate would react to difficult situations. Clearly the candidate on this occasion was a quitter.

Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20120927 14:19
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by
Cbuttius

[quote user="no laughing matter sqrt(x) is monotonic when x >= 1.
However for nonmonotonic functions a binary search will fail.[/quote] I will fail you on two points. Firstly sqrt is monotonic even for x < 1. It is strictly increasing as f(x) > f(y) whenver x > y. It doesn't matter that, below 1, sqrt(x) > x. Incidentally, the derivative of sqrt(x) = 0.5/sqrt(x) which is always > 0 and therefore we know it is monotonic for x > 0. The second point I will fail you on is that binary search will not work on a nonmonotonic function. If you have two values a and b, and your function is continuous at all points between a and b, and f(a) < y and f(b) > y then there must be at least one point x between a and b such that f(x)=y. There might be more than one but there always must be at least one. binary search won't work if you have two start points a and b such that f(a) and f(b) are both > y even if there happens to be a solution in between so if y is a (local) minima (or local maxima) there is no way to find it with binary search. Newton Raphson will possibly get you there, secant will also fail. The point is that, when you take the halfway point between and b, you will either have hit a solution or you will still have a pair of values that wrap your target (a and (a+b)/2 or (a+b)/2 and b) even if your yrange is now bigger than it was before. 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20120927 14:21
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by
Cbuttius

throw std::invalid_argument( \""Stupid\"" is not valid input for square root ); 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20120928 05:20
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by
Warbo
(unregistered)

@snoofle
They were probably waiting to hear "NewtonRaphson iteration, with d(sqrt)/dx = 2x". My guess is they were testing whether you went to high school. Looks like you failed... 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20120928 18:21
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by
Buddy
(unregistered)

They would like to hear things like this: * handling < 0 * handling 0 * normalizing for < 1 * simplifying the problem to 1 <= x < 2 by removing the exponent * getting a first approximation * using Newton's on x * divide the exponent by two * put the exponent back in * correct for odd exponents * undo any normalization for < 1 This is a complete procedure for the square root function in the real domain. Say stuff like this and they'll be impressed. 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20120929 18:03
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by
Mark Wilden
(unregistered)

I would've gone back and forth with snoofle for a while, up until the point where it was obvious he wasn't interested in 1) writing a square root function (it's not rocket science), or 2) answering the question the interviewer was actually asking.

Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121001 18:32
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by
bob_long_nose
(unregistered)

The correct answer would have been "I probably couldn't do it." r "I could come up with something but it wouldn't be pretty, brute force for example." 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121009 20:58
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by
Wyrd
(unregistered)

Leaving was definitely the right move. I don't know exactly what that interviewer's game was, But he struck me as highly manipulative. Especially that stupid "we're not through yet" crap at the end.
It seems like he was just trying to establish dominance by making you feel weak. With that kind of attitude what kind of programmers do you suppose he's able to retain? Certainly no one good. just a bunch of people who are trying to say "yes you're right, sir" all the time. And then that interviewer guy will wonder why they can't hire a good programmer and blame the programmers.  Furry cows moo and decompress. 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121009 21:08
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by
Wyrd
(unregistered)

Please tell me how to write sqrt(). And remember don't use Google. If you don't have the formula already memerized at the time that you read this, then I'm gonna have to count that as a fail.
 Furry cows moo and decompress. 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121011 03:14
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by
The Business man's view
(unregistered)

So I've interviewed countless people, managed various types in various settings, and the game game works the same EXCEPT when it comes to computer people.
If a nontech person shows up for an interview, they do their best to impress. When a tech person shows up, they all have entitlement issues and think they are infallible. The normal procedure goes along the lines of the candidate trying to impress the interviewer and making them feel like this person belongs on the team. The normal procedure when hiring a tech guy is trying to impress them and convince them they belong on the team. This stuff takes time to get used to. Tech people are dangerous, because they control you assess and your access to them. But because there is such demand for skilled PC guys, they have the upper hand. Most of them seem to think they are better than what they actually are however. 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121011 15:05
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by
MadCow42
(unregistered)

or the other option...
"I'd reach down, grab a pile of poop and throw it at the bear." "What if there were no poop?" "Oh, there would be by this point..." 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121016 13:00
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by
gumby
(unregistered)

"What if there were no one to ask?"
Ummm.... I appreciate the idea of seeing how someone thinks and can deconstruct a problem, but at some point, there *has* to be someone to ask  the client/manager/customer/user/someone. If there's no one to ask, there's no one to verify if it's right or not, so I'll just return 0 or null and move on. 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121126 12:37
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by
Captain (Ab)Surd
(unregistered)

I agree. I would've calmed the submitter down and given him the problem again as finding the f^(1)(x) where we had a black box for computing f(x). Then tell him that f(x) was in fact x^2 and he's solved my square root problem after all and watch his head explode. Then tell him to GTFO obviously.

Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20121128 09:56
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by
CFO Idiot
(unregistered)

How about this awesome code (written by a CFO):
public static double findTheGoddamnSqrt(double num) { int godamnAnswer = 0; while (++godamnAnswer * godamnAnswer != num); return godamnAnswer; } Concise and to the point and wastes a lot of time like the stupid question 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20130225 13:11
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by
Verbok5
(unregistered)

Ya, well  depending on how clever he wants this programmer to be , determines the appropriateness of the question. As for the Zombie apocolypse , that is a nonreal event and a nonreal 'number'... [Lolz]

Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20130806 06:22
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by
Simon
(unregistered)

(In response to the square root of stupid)
M: I'd approximate the number one digit at a time. I: What if you couldn't do that? M: I'd, uh... guess randomly? I: What if you had no random number generator? M: I'd weep and cry out. I: What if... you had no mouth? 
Re: Trouble With Founders, the Lost Candidate, and More
20140523 22:50
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by
itu
(unregistered)

If your story is true you were really really rude and stuck up for no reason. Every computer science freshman should have an idea of how to successively approximate a function to arbitrary precision, at least with methods as inefficient as binary search.
However your "you might approximate but you won't get it exact" thing shows you know nothing about what that means. The problem is hardly unrealistic. It's a trivial function everyone knows about and the question tests very simple computing ability. 
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