## Wednesday, July 23, 2008

### Common Puzzles

Most of my friends are geeks. So when we get together on a friday night (or) driving to a conference, we don't talk about politics, movies or celebrities. Instead we throw math puzzles at each other. Here are some of the common puzzles I ran into....

• The Banana-eating Camel : You have 3,000 bananas that must be transported across a desert that is 1,000 kilometers wide. You have a camel that has a 1,000 banana capacity. However, the camel must eat one banana for each kilometer that it walks. What is the largest number of bananas that can be transported across the desert?

• 12 Balls : There are 12 balls. They all look alike but one of them is faulty; it weights differently. It is not known, if this ball is heavier or lighter than the other balls. How to find the faulty ball by three weighs on a simple balance ?
• Linked Lists : You are given a pointer to the head of a singly linked list that might (or might not) have a loop somewhere (i.e., an element pointing back to an element). The length of the list is finite, but unknown. Devise an algorithm that detects if there is a loop. You must use only a constant amount of memory space and not destroy the list.
• Two Integers : I'm thinking of two integer numbers, each if them is more than 1 and their sum is less than 100. I tell my friend A the sum of these two numbers, and another friend B, product of these two numbers. Then such a dialog took place:
B: I can't determine what are these numbers.
A: Ah, i knew you wouldn't be able to do this.
B: Oh, then i know what they are!
A: Oh, then i know them too!

Can you determine the numbers?
• Stick triangle : A stick is broken at random into three pieces. What is the probability that the pieces can form a triangle?

These are the easiest ones (the appetizers). Have fun solving them. I will add more difficult puzzles in future posts...