Thursday, August 21, 2008

Google Labs Aptitude Test (GLAT)

After many years of being a programmer, I am pretty proud of myself thinking I am pretty good. The fact is, there are A LOT OF PEOPLE who are technically more capable than me; though I may not see them or know them, but I know they are out there.

Why do I say so?
  • I am not a genius
  • I don’t do assembly, hack kernels, and come up with the idea of design patterns
  • I don’t do tricks with C code or Pointer
  • I don’t consider myself very creative, since I leverage on others’ teachings most of the time
  • I am not good in solving mathematical quiz and dislike mathematical formula
  • And I am totally lost with GLAT
Google Labs Aptitude Test (GLAT)
GLAT is both a PR stunt as well as out of the norm aptitude test (or so-called technical interview test). It can be intimidating at first, or it could be some fun :)

1) Solve this cryptic equation, realizing of course that values for M and E could be interchanged. No leading zeros are allowed. WWWDOT - GOOGLE = DOTCOM

I could try and brute force it with a program, each alphabet should represent a number

2) Write a haiku describing possible methods for predicting search traffic seasonality.

Google for haiku using define, and come up with a smart-ass “Seventeen-syllable verse form, arranged in three lines of five, seven and five syllables”


1 1
2 1
1 2 1 1
1 1 1 2 2 1
What's the next line?

Possible, but not curious enough to try it for long hours

4) You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. There is a dusty laptop here with a weak wireless connection. There are dull, lifeless gnomes strolling around. What dost thou do?

A sounds useless, B is funny but ridiculous, C is tempting but not helpful and E is death. So I have to be a smart-ass and choose D) Use the computer to map the nodes of the maze and discover an exit path.

5) What's broken with Unix? How would you fix it?

Hmm, not really a Unix fan, so I won’t go technical. Unix is build for technical people in mind; and don’t bother converting it to be Windows-like.

6) On your first day at Google, you discover that your cubicle mate wrote the textbook you used as a primary resource in your first year of graduate school. Do you:

Would probably try to be a smart-ass again and go for E) Show her how example 17b could have been solved with 34 fewer lines of code. A & B is too wimpy, C doesn’t make sense, and I don’t do D.

7) Which of the following expresses Google's over-arching philosophy?

I think I heard of all of them before, but would probably choose B.

8) How many different ways can you color an icosahedron with one of three colors on each face? What colors would you choose?

Lost hope. Might choose Red for failing this, but would rather choose White because my mind is blank with no formula in sight.

9) This space left intentionally blank. Please fill it with something that improves upon emptiness.

Tempted to write ‘Will Code for Food”, but it’s too desperate. Considering drawing hypnosis spiralling circle with hidden subliminal message in it.

10) On an infinite, two-dimensional, rectangular lattice of 1-ohm resistors, what is the resistance between two nodes that are a knight's move away?

I could try to argue I suffer from Dyslexia or ADHD for mathematical and scientific quiz which might not have a proper medical term yet.

11) It's 2PM on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the Bay Area. You're minutes from the Pacific Ocean, redwood forest hiking trails and world class cultural attractions. What do you do?

I am tempted to go for redwood forest hiking, as it is really awesomely beautiful. Or I could be going SURFING, ha-ha.

12) In your opinion, what is the most beautiful math equation ever derived?

I am wondering is E=MC2 is mathematical formula, or is it physic? To be safe, I would just use Pi or π (22/7).

13) Which of the following is NOT an actual interest group formed by Google employees?

Buffy seems out of the way, but too cool to be written off. Nobel winner?

14) What will be the next great improvement in search technology?

I would want search result at the blink of the thought - mind reading, anywhere, anytime. Before that it might be NLP for the computer to understand human language.

15) What is the optimal size of a project team, above which additional members do not contribute productivity equivalent to the percentage increase in the staff size?

I am guessing the answer have something to do with the book The Mythical Man-Month, but I feel 1 is the most productive (100%) and adding another 1 (100% increase in staff) will cause productivity to fall below 100%. But I doubt one person make a team? Besides, I think 3 is a good number.

16) Given a triangle ABC, how would you use only a compass and straight edge to find a point P such that triangles ABP, ACP and BCP have equal perimeters? (Assume that ABC is constructed so that a solution does exist.)

I am guessing it had something to do with Trigonometry, but I am helpless with math quiz.

17) Consider a function which, for a given whole number n, returns the number of ones required when writing out all numbers between 0 and n. For example, f(13)=6. Notice that f(1)=1. What is the next largest n such that f(n)=n?

I can’t even understand what the question is asking.

18) What is the coolest hack you've ever written?

I actually never tried doing something really cool or creative in terms of programming (some small tricks here and there where necessary), I even avoid unnecessary bitwise operators or recursive function. Recently I did hack CakePHP framework a bit to do something where I failed to find the solution by counless-intensive-repetitive googling. Perhaps we are so used to googling, we seldom use our brains anymore (someone should had figured that out already mentality). Code optimization? Nothing the standard text won't teach. C or Pointer trick? Unecessary most of the time. Architecture? Patterns? Nowadays, it is mostly about resuable code and optimization whenever necessary, and identifying a good framework or library to bank on.

19) 'Tis known in refined company, that choosing K things out of N can be done in ways as many as choosing N minus K from N: I pick K, you the remaining. Find though a cooler bijection, where you show a knack uncanny, of making your choices contain all K of mine. Oh, for pedantry: let K be no more than half N.


20) What number comes next in the sequence: 10, 9, 60, 90, 70, 66, ?

Hmm …

21) In 29 words or fewer, describe what you would strive to accomplish if you worked at Google Labs.

Create cool applications? Too many nifty solutions had come out, such as Google Trends or Transit Planner. Hmm, the Google Blog search could use some improvement, as it is not working very well. As for me, I just want to join the smart guys and learn something.

PS: Possible Anwsers at MathWorld and The Google Story.

No comments: