TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Dec 01 Programmers Challenge

Volume Number: 17 (2001)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Programmer's Challenge

by Bob Boonstra, Westford, MA

Parent-Teacher Conferences

If you have children in school, you are familiar with parent-teacher conferences. Little Johnny isn’t doing so well in French, or Algebra, or perhaps Advanced Calculus if your school has a gifted and talented program. Or Sally is doing very well in Subatomic Physics, and you’d like to hear her teachers tell you so.

I was reminded recently of a Challenge suggested by Ernst Munter to write code that would help schools schedule these conferences. Your Challenge this month is to arrange a set of parent-teacher conferences that maximize the parents’ satisfaction and minimize the amount of time wasted by both parents and teachers in between conferences.

You will be given three data sets to work with for each test case. The first, in a file childrenNN.txt (where NN is a number from 01 to the number of test cases), will have one line for each child in the school, containing the child’s name followed by the names of one or two parents. No child will appear on more than one line, and there will be no duplicate names of children. A sample would be the following:

Johnny Smith, Donald Smith, Marilyn Waters-Smith
Sally Jones,Samantha Jones

The second data set, in a file named teachersNN.txt, maps children to their teachers. Each line contains the name of a child, followed by the name of one of his/her teachers, followed by a number from 0 to 9 indicating the strength of the parents’ desire to talk with that teacher. A value of 0 indicates no conference is desired, up to a value of 9 indicating the strongest desire for a conference. Example lines from this file might be:

Johnny Smith, Richard Darwin, 3
Johnny Smith, Rene Descartes, 9
Johnny Smith, Edgar Allen Poe, 0
Sally Jones, Rene Descartes, 5
Sally Jones, Albert Einstein, 9

The final data set, in a file named schedulesNN.txt, identifies which parents are available at which times. The first line in this file contains the number N of conference periods available for scheduling. All teachers can be available for any or all of the periods from 1..N. Subsequent lines contain the names of parents, along with the first and the last conference period for which they will be available. Parents will be available for any period between their first and last available periods, inclusive. Each parent whose name appears in the children.txt file will appear on one line in the schedules.txt file. Example lines from this file might be:

9
Donald Smith, 1,9
Samantha Jones, 4,9
Marilyn Waters-Smith,4,6

Finally, the number of test cases is provided in a file input.txt, with a single line containing the number of test cases:

15

Your code needs to produce output that provides the matching of parents to teachers. The output (conferencesNN.txt) should contain one line for each conference, with the name of the teacher first, the name of the parent second, and the conference period third. No parent or teacher can be in more than one conference during a given period. Both parents of a given child can participate in a conference with a teacher if they are both available during that period (two lines would be output in such a case). One line in such a file might be:

Richard Darwin,Marilyn Waters-Smith,5

Finally, your solution needs to produce a log file (log.txt) that contains, for each test case, the execution time in milliseconds that your solution required to process the test case.

Once again, the objective is to maximize parents’ satisfaction with the conference schedule, and to minimize wasted time. The Challenge will be scored based on the number of penalty points accumulated by each entry. If a desired conference is not accommodated, you will accumulate 1-9 penalty points, depending on the strength of the parents’ desire for that conference as expressed in teachers.txt. If a parent has a gap in the conference schedule, where a conference is scheduled during periods N and N+2, but not in N+1, you will accumulate one penalty point for each unscheduled period in the gap. Similar penalty points will accumulate for gaps in the conference schedule for teachers. Finally, the penalty will be increased by 10% for each second of execution time used by your solution.

We’re going to make another attempt to broaden the development environments accepted for the Challenge, despite mixed success in the past. This will be a native PowerPC Challenge, using any of the following environments: CodeWarrior Pro, REALbasic, MetaCard, Revolution, or ProjectBuilder. You may use another development environment if I can arrange to obtain a copy – email progchallenge@mactech.com to check before you use something else. You can develop for Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X. Your submission should provide everyting needed to build your application.

Three Months Ago Winner

I mentioned above that we have had mixed success in experimenting with alternative development environments for the Challenge. That was certainly true in the September Challenge, where we asked readers to produce Nassi-Schneiderman diagrams using the environment of their choice. Perhaps because the Challenge focused on diagramming C/C++ code, no one submitted an entry using these alternative environments. Sadly, no one submitted a C/C++ entry either, so we have no winner for the Challenge this month. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t play!

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Is there cross-platform play in slither....
So you've sunken plenty of hours into crawling around in slither.io on your iPhone or iPad. You've got your stories of tragedy and triumph, the times you coiled four snakes at one time balanced out by the others when you had a length of more than... | Read more »
Rodeo Stampede guide to running a better...
In Rodeo Stampede, honing your skills so you can jump from animal to animal and outrun the herd as long as possible is only half the fun. Once you've tamed a few animals, you can bring them home with you. [Read more] | Read more »
VoxSyn (Music)
VoxSyn 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: VoxSyn turns your voice into the most flexible vocal sound generator ever. Instantly following even subtle modulations of pitch and... | Read more »
Catch Battleplans on Google Play from Ju...
Real-time strategy title Battleplans is due for release on Google Play on June 30th, following its release for iOS systems last month. With its simple interface and pretty graphics, the crowd-pleaser brings a formerly overlooked genre out for the... | Read more »
iDoyle: The interactive Adventures of Sh...
iDoyle: The interactive Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Books Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Special Release Price $1.99 (Normally $3.99) | Read more »
Five popular free apps to help you slim...
Thanks to retail and advertising, we're used to thinking one season ahead. Here we are just a week into the summer and we're conditioned to start thinking about the fall. [Read more] | Read more »
How to ride longer and tame more animals...
It's hard to accurately describe Rodeo Stampede to people who haven't seen it yet. It's like if someone took Crossy Roadand Disco Zoo and put them in a blender, yet with a unique game mechanic that's still simple and fun for anyone. [Read more] | Read more »
Teeny Titans - A Teen Titans Go! Figure...
Teeny Titans - A Teen Titans Go! Figure Battling Game 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Teeny Titans, GO! Join Robin for a figure battling RPG of epic proportions! TEENY... | Read more »
NinjAwesome: Tips and tricks to be a mor...
Sorry about that headline, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that GameResort would not have named its game NinjAwesome without expecting some of that. It is, in fact, pretty awesome the way it combines an endless runner and old school arcade... | Read more »
Into Mirror (Games)
Into Mirror 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: "Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?"- Edgar Allan Poe New game by Lemon Jam Studio, the team behind Pursuit... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1179 $120 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $200-...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $649 $50 off MSRP - 2.8GHz Mac mini... Read more
Clearance 2015 13-inch MacBook Airs available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available for $300 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook Air (MJVE2LL/A): $799.... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
ABBYY TextGrabber: 1,000,000 Installs in 5 Da...
ABBYY, an international OCR technologies provider, has announced that their image-to-text application TextGrabber, got installed 1,000,000 times in just five days while being featured by the App... Read more
New SkinIt Waterproof Case For iPhone 6
With its impact and waterproof design, the Skinit Waterproof case provides security and protection to guarantee your phone will get you through even the most demanding outdoor conditions. The impact-... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Towson...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* iPhone 6s and New Products Tester Ne...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
Music Marketing Lead, iTunes & *Apple*...
…Music Marketing Lead is responsible for developing robust marketing campaigns and programs for Apple Music and iTunes across the whole of Apple ecosystem. This Read more
*Apple* Valley Medical Clinic is Hiring - AP...
Apple Valley Medical Clinic is Hiring! Apple Valley Medical Clinic is an independently owned practice operating a Family Medicine Clinic, a 24/7 Urgent Care, Read more
*Apple* New Products Testers Needed - Apple...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.