The Microsoft Challenge

This is based on a test that Microsoft allegedly gives to all potential Microsoft employees.
Fri Jan 08

<Shel> nathan, i have a logic problem for you, would you be interested in
       it? it's supposedly a question asked to all microsoft applicants
<Nathan_Roberts> Sure
<Nathan_Roberts> I take it the idea is, if you can figure out the answer,
		 you're too smart to work for Microsoft?
<Shel> lol
<Shel> i hope i remembered your addy right
<Shel> you are "expected" to take 5 minutes or less to figure it out
<Shel> took me 3 1/2 minutes

Subject: U2 concert starts in 17 minutes!  Help!

Hey, there -

Allegedly, this is one of the questions for potential Microsoft
employees. See how you do:

"U2" has a concert that starts in 17 minutes and they must all cross a
bridge to get there.  All four men begin on the same side of the bridge.

You must help them across to the other side.  It is night.  There is one
flashlight.  A maximum of two people can cross at one time.  Any party
who crosses, either 1 or 2 people, must have the flashlight with them.

The flashlight must be walked back and forth, it cannot be thrown, etc.
Each band member walks at a different speed.  A pair must walk together
at the rate of the slower man's pace:

Bono:-1 minute to cross
Edge:-2 minutes to cross
Adam:-5 minutes to cross
Larry:-10 minutes to cross

For example: if Bono and Larry walk across first, 10 minutes have elapsd

when they get to the other side of the bridge.  If Larry then returns
with the flashlight, a total of 20 minutes have passed and you have failed
the mission.

Note: There is no trick behind this.  It is the simple movement of
resources in the appropriate order.  There are two known answers to this
problem.  This is based on a question Microsoft gives to all prospective

Note: Microsoft expects you to answer this question in under 5 minutes!
Good Luck!

<Nathan_Roberts> Think I got it
<Shel> think? either you get 17 minutes or you don't ;)
<Nathan_Roberts> That's what I'm not sure of
<Nathan_Roberts> I'm making sure I didn't screw up
<Shel> hmmm?
<Shel> well, i can find out if you are if you tell me who crosses with larry ;)
<Nathan_Roberts> Adam?
<Shel> yep
<Nathan_Roberts> I think I see the logic here
<Nathan_Roberts> send the two slowpokes together, and send the two quick
		 ones together
<Shel> but you have to send the quick ones over and back more
<Shel> that's the part that most people don't seem to get
<Nathan_Roberts> Yes
<Nathan_Roberts> Now, there's an added problem here
<Nathan_Roberts> If this were a real life situation, you wouldn't be able
		 to solve it.
<Shel> huh?
<Nathan_Roberts> Because it would take 5 minutes out of the 17 to figure
		 it out :P
<Shel> lol
<Nathan_Roberts> Do I get extra credit for that observation? :)
<Shel> lol
<Shel> roggy sent it to me yesterday
<Nathan_Roberts> I think the extra credit would be, I get picked up and
		 forcefully tossed out of the test room, in addition to
		 being too smart to work for Microsoft ;)
<Shel> most people i gave it to suggested either killing off a band member
       (larry) or it's a well known band, they can be a little late ;)
<Nathan_Roberts> LOL
<Nathan_Roberts> HEY!
<Nathan_Roberts> That's the correct answer to get employed
		 by Microsoft!!!!!!!!!!
<Nathan_Roberts> Those are the two known answer's they're looking for!!
<Shel> lol
<Nathan_Roberts> I mean, think about it.  Don't those two answers just
		 perfectly describe Microsoft's strategies?
<Nathan_Roberts> Especially the one about, it's a well known band, they
		 can be a little late.

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