Penultimate term review

Well thus ends my final Michaelmas term. I think that in future years I may come to miss October’s sudden onslaught of Freshers’ Flu but not...

Well thus ends my final Michaelmas term. I think that in future years I may come to miss October’s sudden onslaught of Freshers’ Flu but not much else. It’s been a manically busy period this time round with project proposals, dissertation work and careers fairs to boot! Not to mention the following plethora of lecture courses which, whilst academically interesting, have questionable value to what I’ll probably end up doing for a job. Can’t really see myself knee-deep in qubits anytime soon which renders my Quantum Computing course a bit suspect and Denotational Semantics (next term) are just a little too ivory-tower for my liking—Although I did quite quite enjoy all the lovely greek that came with the polymorphic lambda calculus in this term’s Type Theory course:

type-derivation

So, on the subject of jobs. It really has come to that point. The point where, as a soon-to-be-graduate, I hope and pray that my hard work and well-earned debt will actually get me some employment in what is a pretty tough economic climate. Applications have already gone off—yikes—and I’m just gonna leave it up to God.

However, as many of my peers have been attending interviews I have come across some fun ridiculously pointless technical exercises that they have been set at interview. I honestly question how they can tell how fit you are for a role based on really anal puzzles such as the following:

Observe the following failed attempt to print Hello 20 times:

int n = 20;
int i;
for (i = 0; i < n; i--) {
    printf("Hello");
}

The above code can be modified to produce the required output by changing a single character (adding, removing or substituting). Find three different ways to do this.

Now I need to be fair and actually say that correctly providing the solutions to this does show an ability to quickly debug, and knowledge of C (particularly for one of the solutions). For those of you who want to know, the solutions all involve modifying a character on line 3 and any of the following will do the trick:

3  for (i = 0;  i < n; n--)

3  for (i = 0; -i < n; i--)

3  for (i = 0;  i + n; i--)

No doubt that when I have had my interviews I’ll be able to share some equally dull programming puzzles. Bet you can’t wait, right?

Anyway, just got to really break the back of my disseration over the Christmas period, endure two more terms of lectures, drudge through the summer exams and then it will all be over! I’ll finally be Si Beaumont B.A.

P.S. It’s not worth asking why my Computer Science degree is a B.A.

Blackpool-born & Cambridge-based. Full-time hacker & Part-time consumer of Dr. Pepper.

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