Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oracle interview and eight queen problem

It was not a pleasant morning.It was very hot and humid.Typical
Madras. A saturday in mid November.The Metro bus we boarded from
Velacherry  to go to the Govt. public school near Mylapore was 
really crowded. The bus conductor scolded us in chennai slang for
not buying tickets since we were in deep discussion on a topic and
we forgot to buy ticket. Added to that,the frustration of not in a 
job was really high and the morale was not at its peak.

And the debate was still inconclusive.. whether to go to Shajahan,
the newly released Vijay movie or to take the written test for
Oracle interview.Views are really polarised.Umanath,being Vijay fan, 
wanted to go to the movie. I am sure,the movie will not be good
and at least wanted to take the written test.Ravi wanted to take
the test.Jayaraj,Karumbayiram,Periyasamy and Rajesh will be 
joining us near the school.

The first thing that hit us was the huge crowd that we saw infront
of the school.More than thousand fresh graduates and everyone is 
there to get the job.The intake will be not more than 20.
Odds are clearly stacked against us.I decided to support 
Umanath's plan.But the decision was finally made,Umanath and I 
were coerced to take up the test.

It is me who came-up with a strategic plan to clear the
written test.Jayaraj and Ravi will solve aptitude and C questions,
Periyasamy and Rajesh will solve other sections in the test.
Karubayiram,Umanath and I will co-ordinate marking-up answers
among the group.

Vithi valiyathu..!
Except me, all of my friends cleared the written test.  

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The interview was scheduled in the afternoon in Sun centre in
Eldams road and only the folks who have cleared the written test
were allowed inside.But I was dragged to the big lobby by my 
friends since they needed morale support and some entertainment..!

There were some 100-odd candidates shortlisted for interview and
some half  of them were seen in the big lobby.
Can see people in different moods..anxious,stressed,deep thinking..
The mood in the hall was sombre.

But not for us.All of my friends were kind of confident that
they will not clear the interview and hence there is no fear. 
But, the topics ranged from  how to spend the first month salary 
to where to party and commenting about the students coming 
out of the interview.

There is only one feeling you have whenever you come out of any 
interview and that is sickness.I can see that in every one's face.
But people coming from the  interview panel situated near the main
entrance door were more perturbed. Reason being..the question 
that is asked.

How may possible ways you can arrange eight queens in the  chess 
broad, with out each crossing the other!

"Well,this is not fair.We never ever heard any question which is 
remotely related to chess in our curriculum"-this is me.

"How is this related to the job"--Ravi.

"Guys,this might be related to game theory and I have come-across
this question somewhere,algorithm might be simple, I forgot"-Jayaraj

"Logically speaking we cant have 8 queens in a chess board, 
I seriously question the validity of the question"--Rajesh

"Folks, you were just one-step away from the job and now some silly 
question about some queens in a chess board..."-its me again..

"How am I supposed to answer some complex game theory question
at the tender age of 21..? life is not at all fair"--Karumbayiram.

Suddenly everyone is worried.

Karumbayiram and Periyasamy were dumbstruck, while Umanath was 
seriously pondering over something which is really unusual given 
the circumstances.

"Guys..relax..will find a solution,lets do it methodically.."
Every one's focus is now on Umanath.I was not keen because 
I know him.

"Arranging 8 queens, in a chess board..hmmm...interesting"

Everyone nodded..!!

"And there are 64 squares in the board..hmmm..guys,ever read of 
lateral thinking"

And then he gave a pause,all of our eyes were on him..

"What if we say we don't know chess,never seen that board in our 
life time, interviewer will be in fix. we can skip that question.."

There was a momentary silence,disbelief and then an  instant 
elebration. Karumbayiram was the first to go and hug Umanath for his 
out-of-box thinking..! Even I am impressed. 
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Karumbayiram was the next to be called to the same "Eight queen" 
interview panel..

After some 30 minutes..he came back..Saw Umanath with as  much 
menace as he could possibly muster.Didn't speak a word. We finally
pacified  him and asked what happened  so that we could correct 
our mistakes.

"Aarambathula nalla thaan machhi poitirunthathu interview..."

"hmmm, then.."

"then he asked me that eight queen problem..I told them that I dont
know chess, even sweared to god that I dont know chess"


"that fat guy in the panel told me that..there is no need to
know chess, assume there are 64 squares in a board,you can move a 
piece of stone or wood in all possible  directions,say horizontally,
vertically,diagonally.. now, the question is how many ways can you
arrange eight pieces in  such a way  that each piece doesn't cross 
the other and asked me to write an algorithm.when I was about to swear
to god that I didn't  understand, he told me that even his 2nd std 
studying student can understand this  question"


"Then I came out"
Periayaswamy was the next to be called to the same panel.
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It has just stopped raining.The after-rain pleasant smell was
there. There was a gentle breeze.It was a pleasant evening.We were
sipping tea in a road-side tea-shop near Gemini flyover.Periyasamy
told that we need to prepare to  clear the interviews.Karumbayiram,
Jayaraj and Periyasamy  wanted to go to Anna university to stay in
thier juniors hostel. Rajesh will be going to his home. Ravi,Umanath
and I were  planning to go to Ravi's anna's  home in Velacherry.
Everyone is waiting for the next bus to come.
Everyone is waiting for the next interview  to clear.
Seems ppl do believe in hope.

Jayaraj cleared the interview and joined Oracle,Hyderabad.

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