Apply a permutation to a vector

In this article we are going to discuss an interview question that is asked quite frequently in companies like Facebook, Microsoft, or Google. The problem statement goes as follows: Given an vector<T> A of elements of type T of length Nand a vector<size_t> P where Pis a permutation of numbers from [0-N-1]you need to apply the permutation Pto the vector A. You are not allowed to use more than O(1) additional space. For example suppose A=['a','b','c','d'] and P=['2','0','4','1']. After applying P to A, the latter becomes: ['c','a','d','b']. P[i] basically tell you which element of A should go in position i in the final arrangement of… Read More »Apply a permutation to a vector

Modern C++ concurrency - parallel quick-sort with std::future

In this short lesson we will discuss how to parallelize a simple and rather inefficient (because this is not an in-place version) implementation of quick-sort using asynchronous tasks and futures. We will perform some benchmarking and performance analysis and we will try to understand how we can further improve our implementation. Quick sort In this section, I will briefly refresh your memory on quick-sort. I will do so by showing you a simple and self-explicative Haskell version first. We will also write a C++ (serial) version of the same code implementation C++ that we will use as a basis for our parallelization. Here it goes… Read More »Modern C++ concurrency - parallel quick-sort with std::future

Modern C++ concurrency - Returning values from Threads - std::future


In this lesson we will talk about a way of returning values from threads, more precisely we will talk about std::future which is a mechanism that C++ offers in order to perform asynchronous tasks and query for the result in the future.
A future represents an asynchronous task, i.e. an operation that runs in parallel to the current thread and which the latter can wait (if it needs to) until the former is ready.
You can use a future all the time you need a thread to wait for a one-off event to happen. The thread can check the status of the asynchronous operation by periodically polling the future while still performing other tasks, or it can just wait for the future to become ready.

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Modern C++ Concurrency - Synchronizing threads - Condition Variables


In the previous lesson we have seen how data can be protected using mutex. We now know how to make threads do their work concurrently without messing around with shared resources and data. But sometimes we need to synchronize their actions in time, meaning that we might want a thread t1 to wait until a certain condition is true before allowing it to continue its execution.

This lesson discusses the tools that we can use to achieve such behavior efficiently using condition variables.

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Modern C++ Concurrency - How to share data and resources between threads

In this lesson, we will cover the topic of data sharing and resources between threads. Imagine a scenario where an integer o needs to be modified by two threads t1 and t2. If we are not careful in handling this scenario a data race might occur. But what is a data race exactly?

Data Race

A data race occurs when two or more threads access some shared data and at least one of them is modifying such data. Because the threads are scheduled by OS, and scheduling is not under our control, you do not know upfront which thread is going to access the data first. The final result might depend on the order in which threads are scheduled by the OS.

Race conditions occur typically when an operation, in order to be completed, requires multiple steps or sub-operations, or the modification of multiple data. Since this sub-operations end up being executed by the CPU in different instructions, other threads can potentially mess up with the state of the data while the other's thread operation is still ongoing.

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Static and Dynamic Polymorphism - Curious Recurring Template Pattern and Mixin Classes

 A Few Words on Polymorphism

Polymorphism is the ability to assign a pointer to a base class to an instance of one its derived class. When a method is invoked on that pointer, the derived implementation, if provided, of the method is called otherwise, the inherited method is. The following is an example of such feature.

class Polygon {
   double width, height;
   void Polygon(int a, int b) : width(a), height(b){};
  double area() const =0;
  int perimeter() const
   { return -1; }

class Rectangle: public Polygon {
double area()
{ return width*height; }
int perimeter() const{ return width*2 + height*2;};

class Triangle: public Polygon {
double area()
{ return width*height/2; }

int main () {
  Rectangle rect;
  Triangle trgl;
  Polygon * ppoly1 = &rect;
  Polygon * ppoly2 = &trgl;
  ppoly1->set_values (4,5);
  ppoly2->set_values (4,5);
  cout << rect.area() << '\n';
  cout << trgl.area() << '\n';
  return 0;

It is implemented with a cost in term of memory and time. For each class a virtual method table is stored and a pointer to it is added to the definition (transparently, by the compiler) of each class containing a virtual method (or deriving from a class that contains a virtual method). The table in turn contains pointer to the actual implementation of the virtual methods for the derived class. So the compiler only knows the object through a pointer to its base class, but it can still generate the correct code since it can indirect the calls to overridden methods via the virtual method table, then lookup for the method in the table and finally call it. So polymorphism comes at a cost of storing a virtual method table for each class, a pointer to it in each instance of a polymorphic class and two level in indirection when calling a virtual method.
Another pitfall is that since the indirection is required, usually virtual methods cannot be in-lined.


Curious Recurring Template Pattern

The key idea is: polymorphism without extra run-time cost. Static polymorphism.

Templates can mitigated performance problems of dynamic polymorphism via the so called static polymorphism, or simulated dynamic binding.Read More »Static and Dynamic Polymorphism - Curious Recurring Template Pattern and Mixin Classes

Tower of Hanoi - C++

Tower of Hanoi - C++

This brief article is about the tower of Hanoi. Wrote this super simple C++ for a student and thought maybe it could be helpful.

It works on the idea that in order to move n disks from pile 1 to 3 we need to first move the first n-1 disks to a support pole (choosing the right on is part of the solution, see the code for further detail), then move disk n in the correct position, and finally move the first n-1 disks from support pole to the correct location. Let the recursion does the magic!

The base case is when we have only one disk to move. Simply move the disk in the correct pile.

Tower of Hanoi - C++ Code

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Construct a binary Tree from its inorder and preorder traversal

Construct a Binary Tree from its inorder and preorder

This article will investigate the problem of reconstructing a binary tree given its inorder and preorder traversal.

Let's say for instance that we have the following binary tree (see figure)

Binary Tree

which has the following in order and preorder traversal respectively.

PRE = \{8,5,9,7,1,12,2,4,11,3\}

IN = \{9,5,1,7,2,12,8,3,11,4\}


Given IN and PRE how can we construct the original tree?

The key idea is to observe that the first element in PRE is the root of the tree and that the same element appears somewhere in IN, let's say at position k. This means that in order traversal has processed k element before to process the root, meaning that the number of nodes of the left tree of the root is k. Obviously, if the first k element belongs to the left subtree then all the others belongs to the right tree.

We will use this idea to write a recursive algorithm that builds the tree starting from its traversals. The algorithm works as follows:Read More »Construct a binary Tree from its inorder and preorder traversal

Programming Interview Question - Set Row and Column if - C/C++

Programming Inteview Question

Question: write an algorithm that take as input a matrix of type T  and size M, a value of type T, (v) and a unary predicate P.

Then if holds, the entire rows and column are set to .

For examples if the following is used as input matrix

4 9 14 19 24
3 8 13 18 23
2 7 12 17 22
1 6 11 16 21
0 5 10 15 20

using  the following  equality predicate (==3) (i.e. returns true if the passed parameter is 3) and the resulting matrix is:

-1 9 14 19 24
-1 -1 -1 -1 -1
-1 7 12 17 22
-1 6 11 16 21
-1 5 10 15 20

Hint use template for make the procedure as general as possible.

Programming Inteview Question Solution

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Programming Inteview Question - Rotate Matrix - C/C++

Question: Given a square matrix of size M and type T, rotate the matrix by 90 degrees counterclockwise in place.

For example the algorithm should return the right matrix if is left one is passed as input.

0 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24
4 9 14 19 24
3 8 13 18 23
2 7 12 17 22
1 6 11 16 21
0 5 10 15 20







Read More »Programming Inteview Question - Rotate Matrix - C/C++