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Study for US Congress outlines options against patent trolls (The H)

Study for US Congress outlines options against patent trolls (The H)

Posted Sep 10, 2012 21:36 UTC (Mon) by ssmith32 (subscriber, #72404)
In reply to: Study for US Congress outlines options against patent trolls (The H) by k8to
Parent article: Study for US Congress outlines options against patent trolls (The H)

lol. I wish! No, this was a standard tech interview - doing things the easy way was explicitly off limits.. he wanted me to do a binary search for the square root.


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Study for US Congress outlines options against patent trolls (The H)

Posted Sep 10, 2012 22:24 UTC (Mon) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

oh.

:-(

Well, at least a domain-bounded bisection search is traversing a monotonically increasing continuous function. So it works even if it's pointlessly slow.

Still, folks who want you to implement the wrong algorithm. Uh, bad sign.

Study for US Congress outlines options against patent trolls (The H)

Posted Sep 11, 2012 8:08 UTC (Tue) by ssmith32 (subscriber, #72404) [Link]

Well, I shouldn't judge too harshly*: I'm no math genius, and have certainly written my share of sub-optimal (but clear and finishes in time!) code :)

The troubling part for me is the weird insistence, that there was a math way and an engineering way, isn't really that weird: I've ran into in other places as well. And people feel surprisingly strongly about it.

I admit that professional training may affect how you approach a problem, but when you start approaching the distinction between the act of coding and mathematical algorithms as some sort of fundamental difference...hmm.. So it's an uphill journey.

*Although I did have a little chuckle a year or so later when it turned out whoever managed their IPO had trouble with the maths as well :D

Study for US Congress outlines options against patent trolls (The H)

Posted Sep 11, 2012 11:21 UTC (Tue) by ekj (guest, #1524) [Link]

Sometimes that's true: that there's a math way and an engineering-way and the two are fundamentally different.

For example, simply assuming that all 256 bit (genuinely!) random bitstrings will be different from each other is sound engineering, but invalid math. (the engineeer might worry if the bitstrings are *really* genuinely random, though)

If there's 1:2^80 odds that a cosmic ray will strike your hardware and flip a crucial bit, but a 1:2^128 odds that two random strings will collide by accident, the engineer worries most about the first possibility, while the mathematician worries about the second possibility.


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