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

Opera 44.0.2510.1449 - High-performance...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
Opera 44.0.2510.1449 - High-performance...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
Skim 1.4.29 - PDF reader and note-taker...
Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file. Skim includes many features and has a... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 6.0.2 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
1Password 6.7.1 - Powerful password mana...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
Vivaldi 1.9.818.44 - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
Vivaldi 1.9.818.44 - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
Skim 1.4.29 - PDF reader and note-taker...
Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file. Skim includes many features and has a... Read more
1Password 6.7.1 - Powerful password mana...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 6.0.2 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Fire Emblem Heroes event announces new m...
As reported yesterday, Nintendo was gearing up a live press event for their popular mobile game,Fire Emblem Heroes. While the stream revealed a lot of new things, the event was entirely in Japanese. Luckily we have a rundown of what was announced... | Read more »
Best games we played this week
Another week, another slate of new mobile games. Although there weren't as many big name releases as last week, there were plenty of unique video game titles that came out that's sure to keep you interested over the weekend. Everything from classic... | Read more »
Olli by Tinrocket (Photography)
Olli by Tinrocket 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Get drawn in with Olli by TinrocketOlli instantly turns your everyday moments into hand-drawn art and animations. • Watch... | Read more »
Penarium (Games)
Penarium 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Fire Emblem Heroes is way more profitabl...
Profits for Nintendo's mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes are apparently impressive enough to beat out other Nintendo titles likeSuper Mario Run, despite having 10 times fewer downloads. [Read more] | Read more »
Classic series Robot Unicorn Attack 3 no...
The classic Adult Swim browser game, Robot Unicorn Attack, branched off into a series of popular mobile games. Now, the latest entry into the series, Robot Unicorn Attack 3, is available for iOS and Android mobile devices. [Read more] | Read more »
Sudoku Sweeper (Games)
Sudoku Sweeper 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A minimalist mashup of Minesweeper and Sudoku. Logic puzzle perfection. Every row, column and zone contains a bomb and one of... | Read more »
Under Leaves (Games)
Under Leaves 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Journey into the forest, the jungle or the depths of the deep blue sea. Find chestnuts for the pigs, a caterpillar for the... | Read more »
Ninja Pizza Girl (Games)
Ninja Pizza Girl 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: In the not-so-distant future, rampart traffic congestion has resulted in only one way to deliver pizzas across town in thirty... | Read more »
SCRAP (Games)
SCRAP 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: That day, for no apparent reason, SCRAP decided to wake up and run. He had to, because his activation was a mistake the "Factory" could... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch 2.7GHz Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook P...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.7GHz Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock today and on sale for $2599…$200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.9GHz/256GB Space Gray Touch Bar Mac...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock today and on sale for $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Touch... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $151 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $151 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 3.1GHz iMac 4K: $1348 $151 off MSRP - 21″ 2.8GHz iMac: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP... Read more
Weekend deal: Up to $420 off new MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available for $230 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
Price drop: 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro...
Amazon has dropped their price on 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros (MJLQ2LL/A) to $1709.99 including free shipping. Their price is $290 off MSRP for this model. Note that stock may sell out quickly at... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini on sale for $899, save $100
B&H Photo has the 2.8GHz Mac mini (model number MGEQ2LL/A) on sale for $899 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Check Apple prices on any device with the iTr...
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
New System Clock for macOS by B-Eng Now Avail...
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of System Clock, the company’s new system monitor and information app developed exclusively for macOS. System... Read more
DEVONtechnologies Celebrates 15th Anniversary...
DEVONtechnologies celebrates its 15th company anniversary with a 30% discount on all its software products from May 1st through 5th, 2017. In spring 2002, DEVONtechnologies opened its website and... Read more
WaterField Designs Invites Customers to Help...
San Francisco based WaterField Designs invites customers and air travelers to participate in developing the next generation in-flight travel case, the Air Porter. Frustrated with limited legroom,... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* OS X Server Administrator (Active Se...
** Apple OS X Server Administrator \(Active Secret Clearance\)** **Description** Come be a part of a top notch team, apply today\!\! Tuva TUVA provides turnkey Read more
*Apple* Mac Computer Technician - GeekHampto...
…complex computer issues over the phone and in person? GeekHampton, Long Island's Apple Premium Service Provider, is looking for you! Come work with our crew Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**501846BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001126-South Bay Center-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Read more
Consultant or Sr. Consultant, *Apple* Allia...
…improve our business and your clients will be heard.Project Manager, Apple AllianceLocation:San Francisco preferred, open to other locationsLevel:Consultant or Sr. Read more
*Apple* Mac Computer Technician - GeekHampto...
…complex computer issues over the phone and in person? GeekHampton, Long Island's Apple Premium Service Provider, is looking for you! Come work with our crew Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.