Friday, April 18, 2008

Microsoft Test

This is an extract from a test to become a Microsoft employee:

There are 4 women who want to cross a bridge. They all begin on the same side. You have 17 minutes to get all of them across to the other side. It is night. There is one flashlight. A maximum of two people can cross at one time. Any party who crosses, either 1 or 2 people, must have the flashlight with them. The flashlight must be walked back and forth, it cannot be thrown, etc. Each woman walks at a different speed. A pair must walk together at the rate of the slower woman's pace.

Woman 1: 1 minute to cross
Woman 2: 2 minutes to cross
Woman 3: 5 minutes to cross
Woman 4: 10 minutes to cross

For example if Woman 1 and Woman 4 walk across first, 10 minutes have elapsed when they get to the other side of the bridge. If Woman 4 then returns with the flashlight, a total of 20 minutes have passed and you have failed the mission. What is the order required to get all women across in 17 minutes? Now, what's the other way?

No sneaky Googling the answer either!

6 Comments:

At 12:43 AM, Blogger Trillian said...

Why can only 2 women cross at a time? Is there a load limit on the bridge? Are you saying we're fat?

And why do they have only 17 minutes to cross? Why do you have to rush us?

And why do they need a flashlight when on the bridge? Do you think we're scared of the dark when there is no big strong man to protect us?

I don't think I want to work for Microsoft if that's the kind of attitude they're going have.

:)~

 
At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

*snork @ Trillian*

~neophyte

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous insomniac said...

1 and 2 go over, 1 comes back (3 minutes)
3and 4 go over ,2 comes back (12 more minutes, total of 15)
1 and 2 go over again (2 more minutes, total of 17)

in the other solution
1 and 2 go over, 2 comes back (4 minutes)
3 and 4 go over, 1 comes back (11 more minutes, total of 15)
1 and 2 go over!

(i didn't g00gle, but i have seen this before)

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger wysiwyg said...

My own thought had been to push a couple of the slower ones off the bridge, but I suppose that doesn't count as getting them across.

They didn't say anything about not being able to piggy-backing them across though: If Woman 1 does all the work she'd get everyone across in 6 minutes.

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE that insomniac did the math. Or alternately, actually remembered the answer!

~neophyte

 
At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look! The pointy haired boss asks the same kind of questions!

See Dilbert, Nov 27, 2003

~neophyte

 

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