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Questions tagged [problem-solving]

Problem solving encompasses a number of techniques known as algorithms, heuristics, root cause analysis, etc.

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62 votes
15 answers
13k views

Dealing with frustration when things don't work [closed]

You ever try to implement something simple but for some strange reason it doesn't work. So you try a possible solution but then something else doesn't work. You keep trying different workarounds but ...
58 votes
12 answers
11k views

What programming language generates fewest hard-to-find bugs? [closed]

What language, in your opinion, allows the average programmer to output features with the least amount of hard-to-find bugs? This is of course, a very broad question, and I'm interested in very broad ...
50 votes
26 answers
97k views

How can I improve my problem-solving ability?

Everyone says the same thing: "a real programmer knows how to handle real problems." But they forget how they learned this ability or where: it's not taught in schools. What can I do to improve my ...
43 votes
12 answers
5k views

Is thinking out loud during an interview really the best strategy? [closed]

In another question I asked recently about best practices for whiteboarding, there was general consensus that thinking out loud while coming up with the answer was the best strategy. Indeed, long ...
Bjorn's user avatar
  • 737
40 votes
28 answers
4k views

Which are the significant algorithms for humankind in past decades? [closed]

Which world most important algorithms have contributed most to humankind in past decades? I thought this is a good general knowledge for a developer to know about. Update: If possible, please keep ...
40 votes
10 answers
2k views

Where do you draw the line for your perfectionism? [closed]

Perfectionism may be good and bad when programming. When and where do you draw the line when you are problem solving? When do you decide when a solution is overkill, too general or simply too ...
Amir Rezaei's user avatar
34 votes
9 answers
2k views

Abstraction: The War between solving the problem and a general solution [closed]

As a programmer, I find myself in the dilemma where I want make my program as abstract and as general as possible. Doing so usually would allow me to reuse my code and have a more general solution ...
Nayrb's user avatar
  • 2,504
30 votes
13 answers
10k views

Is "White-Board-Coding" inappropriate during interviews? [closed]

This is a somewhat subjective quesiton but I'd love to hear feedback/opinions from either interviewers/interviewees on the topic. We split our technical interview into 4 parts. Write Code, Read & ...
Eoin Campbell's user avatar
25 votes
9 answers
25k views

How to handle conflicts between developers in your team? [closed]

This is happening in every team. For some reasons, conflicts arise in the team and they affect the overall motivation and productivity. What is your recommended approach to solve that common problem?...
user avatar
22 votes
6 answers
2k views

When to prefer a generalized solution over solving specific cases

In programming we're often faced with a choice: cover each conceivable use case individually, or solve the general problem: Its obvious that solving the immediate problem is faster, however creating ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
4k views

Algorithm for calculating a bullet path to a target with max. 2 ricochets

Sorry for the poor title but I didn't have a better way to phrase it... So there's this amazing game by Nintendo (yes!) on Wii called WiiPlay. There're 9 minigames in it, and my favorite one is ...
hello all's user avatar
  • 358
18 votes
3 answers
3k views

How to avoid jumping to a solution when under pressure? [closed]

When under a particularly strict programming deadline (like an hour), if I panic at all, my tendency is to jump into coding without a real plan and hope I figure it out as I go along. Given enough ...
GlenPeterson's user avatar
  • 14.9k
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

What programming problems do Monads solve? [closed]

I've read a lot of posts that explain what monads are, how unit and bind work, some of them plunging straight into category theory so abstract (for me at least) that makes the eyes bleed, some ...
Dummy Me's user avatar
  • 195
14 votes
8 answers
9k views

In an interview, is it better to code a brute-force solution to a tough question, or to spend the interview examining the question carefully? [closed]

Sometimes interview questions are hard, whether the interviewer intends them to be, or not. It can come down to a choice of whether to use the limited interview time to code up an ugly, inefficient, ...
GlenPeterson's user avatar
  • 14.9k
14 votes
7 answers
9k views

Best way to break down overwhelming code into manageable chunks?

I'm continually becoming overwhelmed by large projects, once they reach a certain level of complexity. Once I reach a certain point in a project, my progress slows to a crawl and I find myself ...
pup's user avatar
  • 1,712
13 votes
10 answers
941 views

Should I be worried if I solve a lot of my problems the same way?

I really enjoy programming games and puzzle creators/games. I find myself engineering a lot of these problems the same way and ultimately using similar technique to program them that I'm really ...
Nayrb's user avatar
  • 2,504
12 votes
10 answers
818 views

Why does not thinking about a bug sometimes help you solve it? [closed]

Yesterday I spent a good part of the afternoon trying to fix a bug, which I thought to be trivial. I was going around in circles, not having a clue what was wrong. Rewriting large parts of the code. ...
Jeremy French's user avatar
12 votes
10 answers
3k views

How to learn/become capable of thinking out of the box? [closed]

In every problem solving there's always people who think differently, who come with a 6th option when only 5 were suggested by others, who think "out of the box". Please tell how one can achieve such ...
Denys S.'s user avatar
  • 621
11 votes
5 answers
19k views

Allow Administrator users to login as other users

Do you think it's a good practice to implement a possibilty to allow an administrator user to login in as another user, by-passing password? This could by implemented by a master password or a ...
user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
3k views

How to save during real-time collaboration

I want multiple users to edit same document. Problem I'm facing is when a new user joins, he might see an outdated document. How do I make sure that new users get most recent changes? Some solutions ...
dev.e.loper's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
1k views

Is it important for a solution to be an efficient one?

I solve many problems, mostly from Top Coder. I will get answers for many, but most times I end up with an inefficient solution. In real-world implementations - does it really matter that a solution ...
Ant's's user avatar
  • 732
9 votes
7 answers
1k views

Does one's native spoken language affect quality of code?

There is a school of thought in linguistics that problem solving is very much tied to the syntax, semantics, grammar, and flexibility of one's own native spoken language. Working with various ...
Jé Queue's user avatar
  • 3,927
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

algorithm for project euler problem no 18

Problem number 18 from Project Euler's site is as follows: By starting at the top of the triangle below and moving to adjacent numbers on the row below, the maximum total from top to bottom is 23. 3 ...
Valentino Ru's user avatar
7 votes
7 answers
7k views

How to pay more attention to detail as a developer?

Are there any resources for paying more attention to detail as a software developer? (Especially edge cases, or small mistakes in code, details in the problem description, ramifications for certain ...
Cervo's user avatar
  • 1,748
7 votes
6 answers
3k views

How do the algorithms to solve problems encountered in interviews translate into real world solutions? [closed]

I have recently finished an undergraduate course in computer science and I am looking for a job. During the search I encountered several interesting (and tough) problems that needed clever algorithms ...
josh88's user avatar
  • 97
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

How to effectively (but minimally) *simulate* a distributed computing environment?

I am doing some personal research on Byzantine Faults. I am trying out algorithms from various research papers which present algorithms for consensus in distributed systems like this one. For this i ...
Chani's user avatar
  • 1,445
7 votes
1 answer
612 views

Smallest Rubik's cube state representation

I'm trying to determine what is the fewest number of bits I need to represent the state of a Rubik's cube. (EDIT: I am assuming the cube is a valid Rubik's cube that has not been altered and only ...
J Price's user avatar
  • 89
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Algorithm for floor tiling

I'm looking for an algorithm for placing tiles of different sizes within a complex area (all 2D) as randomly but efficiently as possible. I know the different dimensions of the tiles provided and the ...
Component 10's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
350 views

Should I fix small issues or let them go? [closed]

I ran into the following issue where a keyboard shortcut I was used to was no longer working in Ubuntu. That's just an example. For programming, this kinds of thing happens a lot, but it also happens ...
Alan Turing's user avatar
  • 1,543
5 votes
5 answers
10k views

What to do when you're faced with a problem that you can't solve quickly?

I'm a beginner learning Java and after reading the docs I'm trying to solve some of the problems at codingbat.com. Some I managed to solve pretty quickly in a matter of seconds but some not quite. The ...
user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to detect root cause of problem or bug [closed]

Often in coding, I find it very slow and difficult to detect the root cause of a bug and sometimes I end up going to wrong point in my code. It's painful. I know that to detect the root cause of a bug ...
taqmaninw's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
3k views

Approach to a programming task

All, Given a problem statement, when I start of with the analysis and design, I tend to think too much about the various functionalities associated with the task (sometimes not even mentioned in the ...
name_masked's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
4k views

Steps to create a solution for a problem

I am a trainee. According to my teacher to solve a problem we should go through following steps: Create Algorithm (optional) Create a Datatable: By analyzing the problem, create main concepts in ...
Mr_Green's user avatar
  • 181
5 votes
1 answer
507 views

Does anybody recognize this scheduling problem? Is there an algorithm for it?

Consider the following problem: Description: There are n jobs J1...Jn with cycle times C1....Cn. Find a time quantum and a scheduling table considering that: any element of the table contains at ...
DonComo's user avatar
  • 59
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is a good way to brainstorm algorithms on a computer? [closed]

I'm looking for something that allows me to work out an algorithm on a computer similar to how I would do it on a whiteboard. At work, I have a huge whiteboard that I can use for this, but at home, I ...
Chinmay Kanchi's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
200 views

How do you deal when an error occurs on 1 instance of your website/program/app?

I've had a couple of times in the time I've working, moments when I get an error ocurring in just 1 computer and it often takes me hours or days to figure out because it is (or at least seems) an ...
Luis Armando's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
999 views

Improving analysis skills [closed]

I am a software engineer with a couple of years of experience. However I feel my problem solving skills need to be improved. To put in crude terms given facts A and fact B I have difficulty in ...
andrew liu's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
4k views

Best way to get programmers to ask for help when they get stuck

What is the best way to ensure that programmers ask for help when they get stuck on a problem, rather than spending too much time trying to figure something out when they've hit a wall? I'm ...
mkopala's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes
1 answer
268 views

Practices for navigating uncertainty in software design

Background: So I'm trying to create my first game engine for learning purposes. After looking up a few articles I was able to design the beginning portions of my engine to at least get me going. My ...
Jason's user avatar
  • 469
3 votes
4 answers
2k views

Optimistic & Pessimistic Programming - Ensuring multiple tasks are called only once for specific record

Let's say you have 10 database records which you need to process in the following way: Start Pull 2 records from the database with the 'Processed' flag set to 'false' Call the external web service ...
HABJAN's user avatar
  • 171
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Genetic Algorithm new generation exponentially increasing

I'm programming Genetic Algorithm in C++ and after searching all kind of ways of doing GA'a operators (selection, crossover, mutation) I came up with a doubt. Let's say I have an initial population ...
RubenC's user avatar
  • 153
3 votes
1 answer
4k views

Difficulties with Two's complement in Assembly

Everything discussed here will refer to Intel 8085 (8-bit architecture). When using two's complement number "conversion" : 1.) If we take SBI 0F (subtraction) for example; immediate value 0F(hex) or ...
Lucenzo97's user avatar
  • 293
3 votes
2 answers
278 views

Ranking players depending on decision making during a game

How would I go about a ranking system for players that play a game? Basically, looking at video games, players throughout the game make critical decisions that ultimately impact the end game result. ...
tabchas's user avatar
  • 149
3 votes
2 answers
207 views

How to find an error in a tcp server application for which there is no source code

I have a c++/cli tcp client application sending a data in a specific format like L,20100930033425093,-5.929958,13.164021 to a main application on port 9000.The main application is actually done by the ...
ShivShambo's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
398 views

What is this Algorithm called? [Traveling Salesman Problem]

I've been thinking about the Traveling Salesman Problem. In examining it and grids of cities, I noticed that I could frequently pick out the shortest route just by staring at it. Granted, I couldn't ...
Ucenna's user avatar
  • 1,302
3 votes
2 answers
230 views

How to manage cart details across various devices

Recently I was asked in a interview to implement to e-commerce site . One of the requirement was to maintain cart details across various devices .(i.e) if user adds a book from his iPhone , and when ...
user3878073's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
90 views

Setting permissions issue for admins and lower users in project

I am working in a jsp project an got stuck in a big problem. My project consist of accounts table for super admin, reseller, admin and users for executives and manager mapped in the account ...
singhakash's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Understanding of the Carry Flag Bit

Intel 8085: In my textbook it is said: "Carry Flag - this flag is the carry out from the MSB of the A-register. CY is set after an ADD instruction if carry out was generated from the A-register." I ...
Lucenzo97's user avatar
  • 293
2 votes
3 answers
4k views

Calculating 3d rotation around random axis

This is actually a solved problem, but I want to understand why my original method didn't work (hoping someone with more knowledge can explain). (Keep in mind, I've not very experienced in 3d ...
mitim's user avatar
  • 143
2 votes
3 answers
747 views

shadow simulation from buildings

Is it possible to calculate shadow areas of buildings or simulate shadows of buildings in a city, using the heights of these buildings and the sun angle and azimuth? The basic light tracing concept ...
user avatar