Microsoft's Puzzle: A Challenge
By dcb on Feb 19, 2005
If you enjoy solving puzzles and word problems you might enjoy reading the book called:
How would you move Mount Fuji?
This book contains a collection of various types of logic puzzles, design question, estimation challenges, and choice dilemmas that, according to the author, Microsoft (and others) use during interviews with new grads. The theory is that since these folks don't have a lot of industry experience or a proven track record of success, that creative thinking under pressure (a critical success factor) can be determined to some extent by observing a candidate's process of dealing with a challenging scenario to which they haven't previously been exposed.
To me, these kinds of problems provide for a fun distraction now and then.
I'm pretty good these these, but here's one that got me. Sometimes the apparently simple ones are the hardest because you can convince yourself of the one-true-answer and can't see beyond your solution. Give it a try!
How many distinct points are there on the surface of the Earth from which you can walk one mile due South, then one mile due East, and then one mile due North, and end up at the same exact spot from which you started?
It isn't a trick question, per-se. Use basic assumptions, such as walking on the surface of (not thru) the Earth, that magnetic and true North are the same, that the Earth is a smooth perfectly spherical "globe", etc. Don't make it harder than it is. According to the book, you'd be disqualified from further consideration for a job at Microsoft if you came up with "zero" or "one" point.
In case you give up, here is the solution: