In Real Life

Published Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Tarang

Update: New blog posts every Mon-Wed-Fri. I will try my best to meet this schedule. Remember to leave comments and share your thoughts and ideas!

YouTube’s popular vlogger Natalie (Username: “communitychannel”) asks the question you’ve all been dying to know. When will I use what I learn in real life?

You actually do math problems all the time- just not in the format that you see in school. You use math when you buy groceries, fill up gas, or try to save money for a new car. Also, you use algebra and calculus heavily in engineering and economics. Graphs are ubiquitous in the world of marketing, and all websites these days use statistics (where do you think they find the data for “recommended videos” on YouTube?). Surprisingly, job interviews sometimes ask you questions similar to those you see on standardized tests.

Questions from an actual Google interview:

  • Say an advertiser makes $0.10 every time someone clicks on their ad. Only 20% of people who visit the site click on their ad. How many people need to visit the site for the advertiser to make $20?
  • Estimate the number of students who are college seniors, attend four-year schools, and graduate with a job in the United States every year.
  • If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?
  • If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands? (The answer to this is not zero!)
  • Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough light left for seventeen minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without a flashlight, and it’s only strong enough to support two people at any given time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge in 1 minute, another in 2 minutes, the third in 5 minutes, and the slow poke takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes?

And you thought I gave you difficult brain teasers two weeks ago.

Tags: ,

comments powered by Disqus