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

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46
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15answers
5k 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 ...
40
votes
12answers
2k views

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

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 ...
37
votes
12answers
4k 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 ...
30
votes
9answers
838 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 ...
28
votes
10answers
1k views

Where do you draw the line for your perfectionism?

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 ...
19
votes
11answers
4k views

Is “White-Board-Coding” inappropriate during interviews?

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 part into 4 parts. Write Code, Read & ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

How to avoid jumping to a solution when under pressure?

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 ...
16
votes
14answers
791 views

When do you get your best ideas? [closed]

Are there certain activities that provide inspiration at unexpected times? One that I've noticed is when I'm mowing the lawn or shoveling snow - living in Minnesota it seems I'm always doing one or ...
13
votes
10answers
788 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
522 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 ...
12
votes
12answers
6k views

How would you refactor nested IF Statements? [duplicate]

I was cruising around the programming blogosphere when I happened upon this post about GOTO's: http://giuliozambon.blogspot.com/2010/12/programmers-tabu.html Here the writer talks about how "one ...
12
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8answers
1k 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?

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, ...
12
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10answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
14answers
3k views

How to teach programming a person who completed CS studies but for 5 years was working in other profession?

I have a colleague who want to go back to programming after 5 years of doing something else. Five year ago he was working with C++ / linux, delphi, and a lot with mSQL . He asked me to help him to go ...
11
votes
10answers
635 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. ...
10
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
604 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

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

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 ...
8
votes
7answers
813 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 ...
7
votes
11answers
632 views

What to do when all solutions are equally bad? [closed]

Sometimes, after having done a very thorough analysis/research, you can think of a number of solutions to a problem, but they all have considerable downsides. What do you do in such a situation? For ...
6
votes
5answers
714 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
310 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
423 views

Do I have to be skilled in advanced theoretical problem solving to become a good programmer? [closed]

I have been doing programming for about a couple of years. I am currently in University 2nd year. In most universities here, the problem solving from sites like uva.onlinejudge.org and ...
6
votes
4answers
696 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
759 views

What are the great unsolved challenges (or recent promising breakthroughs) of enterprise programming? [closed]

My experience with programming came from a field, computational linguistics, where there LOTS of unsolved problems (computationally modeling natural language, or having effective statistical ...
5
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
9answers
443 views

What tricks/tips do you use for innovation? [closed]

I am looking for a few ideas on how to change a highly conventional work culture to be more innovated in their approached to problem solving. I've come across this article and am looking for more ...
5
votes
4answers
442 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
619 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
640 views

Improving analysis skills

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you improve your problem solving skills? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does one improve one's problem-solving ability? I'm focusing on becoming a better developer and one area I'd like to focus on is improving my problem solving ...
5
votes
4answers
896 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
419 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 ...
4
votes
9answers
2k views

Algorithm development in jobs [closed]

I have a mathematics background but also consider career in some form of software development. In particular I'm interested in finding out what sort of industries are most likely to have more ...
4
votes
5answers
837 views

How can one find software development work that involves directly the final end user?

I've worked in software development for 15 years and, while there have been signficant personal achievements and a lot of experience, I've always felt detached from the man/woman-on-the-street, the ...
4
votes
1answer
199 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 quanta and a scheduling table considering that: any element of the table contains at ...
3
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
692 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
278 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
165 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. ...
3
votes
5answers
317 views

How can a developer evaluate the effectiveness of his workflow?

This question has been on my mind for probably 10 years. Ever since I've started programming for a living. And I've seen multiple discussions about good fit, distractions, being in the zone, etc. But ...
3
votes
2answers
180 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
269 views

How can I find the root of confusing problems?

Several times after posting over at Stack Overflow, I have found that the problem I have is somewhat specific, and may have issues rooted elsewhere in my code. These are very difficult to solve with a ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Solving a probabilistic problem

So I am interested in Computational Investing and came across this problem on a wiki page: Write a program to discover the answer to this puzzle:"Let's say men and women are paid equally (from ...
2
votes
1answer
391 views

Sublinear Extra Space MergeSort

I am reviewing basic algorithms from a book called Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick, and I came across a problem in MergeSort that I am, sad to say, having difficulty solving. The problem is below: ...
2
votes
3answers
401 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
243 views

Programming puzzle with constant selection

THE QUESTION: There is an event where there are N contestants. There are three tasks in the event: A,B,C (say). Each participant takes part in the events in the listed order: i.e a contestant must ...
1
vote
11answers
524 views

Writing code vs Figuring out the answer to a problem?

Why is writing code when you encounter a tricky problem considered "bad" programming practice? And why is thinking a problem completely through on paper or in your head before you write code "good" ? ...