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Best Tech Interview Question I've Seen

I'm a curator of tech interview questions. I'm starting to work with our HR group on a tech recruiting strategy, so I've been looking for more questions. I got an email from a recruiter via a New York Java Meetup group (which is free). The email, of course describes the job requirements, but the best part of the email was the following section:

By starting at the top of the triangle and moving to adjacent numbers on the row below, the maximum total from top to bottom is 27.

6 8
7 1 5

I.e. 5 + 9 + 6 + 7 = 27.
Write a program in a language of your choice to find the maximum total from top to bottom in triangle.txt, a text file containing a triangle with 100 rows. Send your solution and resume to [123456 AT yodle dot com], replacing 123456 with the maximum sum for the triangle.


I had to try to solve the puzzle to see what they did. I tried my first solution, and got my mail bounced back to me... I got immediate feedback from a "unit test." My second solution didn't work either. My third worked... I'm down to 5 lines of Groovy that take about 150 ms.

Yodle had a great job posting. Note: I don't work for Yodle, so if you want to speak with them, you'll have to figure out their culture. On the other hand, if you want a similar culture (at least in part of our HUGE company - SunGard is #380 on the fortune 500), and want to work in a variety of projects, you can always email me. If you can solve this puzzle (and possibly have some finance experience), the interview process will probably just a formality :).

I'm going to have to work on something like yodle's for SunGard Consulting. We currently have job postings like this, which can definitely use some fine tuning.

<sales_pitch>If you want to hire some consultants who can solve those kinds of problems, you can email me for that as well.</sales_pitch>



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