Tag: programming challenge

Speak Slowly, no Vowels, pls – Solutions

In my previous post, I described how I devised a programming problem for an internal company contest with the help of the ubiquitous ChatGPT. Also, ChatGPT provided a solution for the problem as part of the development process. Even more interestingly the language model provided a fictional context for justifying the problem.

The task was to write a function removeVowels( string text ) which takes an arbitrary text (arbitrary as long as it contains no uppercase letters) and returns the same string where vowels have been removed. Given the string “hello world”, the result should be “hll wrld”.

The implementation must not have:

  • loops
  • if statement
  • list comprehension

If you want to give it a try before reading the solution, stop here. Otherwise, follow me.

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Speak Slowly, no Vowels, pls – The Problem

As a winner of the last programmer contest at Schindler MIL, I had to devise a new compelling and intriguing puzzle to propose to my colleagues. The first two puzzles were in the form “Implement X without using Y“, an interesting pattern that allowed for multiple solutions.

But I ran short of (X,Y) pairs, and staring at my blank page I decided to resort to … ChatGPT. Yes, nowadays it is like the uber-solution to everything. Don’t you know how to partially specialize your templates? Ask ChatGPT; don’t you know how to present a topic? Ask ChatGPT; don’t you know how much a brick weighs? Ask ChatGPT; don’t you know how to devise a programming puzzle? Ask ChatGPT.

So I went on and asked this modern oracle –

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Lambda Headache for Mere Mortals

A few years ago I attended a talk at a Lambda World Conference about Lambda Calculus. Although not an eye-opener (in fact that level of abstraction is rarely needed, nor advisable, in everyday programming), it was thought-provoking. By wisely crafting mathematical functions you could describe algorithms, fully equivalent to the good old recipe-like imperative programming code.

The point is that those lambda functions are really twisted.

Reading some anecdotes about Alonzo Church it is immediately clear he was quite a guy. And devising lambda calculus required quite a mind.

Since lambda calculus is just functions, no statement, it came to my mind I could use it to devise a solution to my “if-less” programming quiz.

The solution I prepared was too complex to be explained in my previous post, so I decided to write this post.

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What if “if” would go missing?

In my last post, I described the first Schindler Milan office weekly riddle. It has been a big success, and it had a brilliant winning solution (one of mine 🙂 ). A simple problem, implementing increment by one without using addition, yet open enough to trigger a good number of solutions.

As the winner, it was my duty to invent the next riddle. A really daunting task if I wanted to live up to the expectations. Honestly, I didn’t invent anything, I just squeeze the web looking for a good programming riddle in the drops.

Eventually, I decided to go for determining the lowest of two numbers… using if-less programming. After all, if statement can be tricky and someone already pointed out that if statement should be considered harmful in the same way the infamous goto is.

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Mom! My plus key is broken!

Do you remember the good old point-and-click adventures? They provided plenty of puzzles and riddles with a compelling narrative. I loved them, possibly because I love riddles, puzzles, and this sort of challenge. So I was super excited when my employer supported the initiative of a Coding-Riddle-of-the-Week contest. This is the second issue and I’m going to present it here.

Produce a program which increments an integer variable by a value of 1 without using sum or increment operators.

You are pretty free to choose whatever integer size and type you prefer (I would say, but bool), and whatever language you want. I stuck with C++ because it was quicker, but most of my solutions can be easily ported to other languages.

So, before continuing be sure to give some thought to this riddle to not spoil the fun.

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