Journey of a simple recursive code

Some one asked the following question in StackOverflow

Implement a function with prototype char *repeat(char *s, int n) so that it creates and returns a string which consists of n repetitions of the input string s. For example: if the input is “Hello” and 3, the output is “HelloHelloHello”. Use only recursive constructs.

I immediately started compiling the answer as it was a pretty straight forward question. But it was not only me who was posting the answer. So after posting, very quickly other answers started appearing. It was a general everyday answer, until a person (who also answered the question) pointed out a bug in my code. Bugs disturb the mind. So I dug into the code and fixed it. The things started to get challenging when others started to get more compact code, which didn’t let me sit idle.
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Implement stack using a queue

The puzzle is to implement basic stack operations with using only basic queue operations. That is, a queue object is given, we need construct a wrapper for the stack functions, push, pop, which will only use the queue object as its storage, and naturally will have to use the queue operations.

This can be done using only one queue object. Although either the push or the pop complexity will no more be O(1).
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Detect Endianness of a System

In a previous post “Little and Big Endian conversion” i have briefly discussed about the Big-Endian and the Little-Endian representations. It is the ordering of the bytes (elementary addressable elements) within the representation of a larger basic data type. These are the two byte orderings in the memory within a larger datatype. For example if the size of integer is 4 bytes in a system, then will the least significant byte be stored in the lower memory address or in the higher memory address. In short: if the most significant byte is stored in higher memory address then it is called the Little Endian representation, and if the most significant byte is stored in lower memory address than the least significant byte then it is called the Big-Endian representation. For a diagram see the post “Little and Big Endian conversion”. Also refer the Wikipedia Entry on Endianness.

So how to determine if your system a Little Endian system or a Big Endian system by running a piece of code? Continue reading “Detect Endianness of a System”

C Q&A #3: When ((x == x + 5) && (y != y)) is true.

The post heading gives an expression which is a contradiction and not possible. In general yes it is a contradiction, but can you write a code such that the below code prints “Hello World.” ?

/* Add source code in the following code such that "Hello World." is printed. */

#include <stdio.h>
#include <math.h>

int main (void)

  if (x == x + 5)
    printf ("Hello ");
  if (y != y)
    printf ("World.\n");

  return 0;

Continue reading “C Q&A #3: When ((x == x + 5) && (y != y)) is true.”

Get sorted index orderting of an array

Yesterday i was translating some code i wrote in R to C++. I had some calculation to do which required the list of index of the top n values in a list. Therefore what i needed was not a the list sorted itself or get a sorted copy of a given list, but actually the sorted order of the index into the actual array. To describe the problem, for example consider the following list:

arr = 20 50 40 80 10

The sorted (non-decreasing) ordering of the values is obviously

sorted_arr = 10 20 40 50 80

The sorted (non-decreasing) ordering of the index into the original array is (index starts at 1 in this example)

sorted_index_into_arr = 5 1 3 2 4

Therefore the smallest value in the list arr could be found by indexing into arr using the first value of sorted_index_into_arr, which stores the index of the array arr holding the smallest value.

arr[ sorted_index_into_arr[1] ]

The sorted index ordering is very easy to get in languages like R and Octave or Matlab. For example in R we can do the following to get the sorted index order using the order function:

> arr <- c (20, 50, 40, 80, 10)
> arr
[1] 20 50 40 80 10
> order (arr)
[1] 5 1 3 2 4

In the case of Octave or Matlab you can get the index order using the sort function, which will return two lists (1xn matrix), the first list is the sorted array itself, and the next one is the sorted index order into the original array.

octave:1> a = [20 50 40 80 10]
a =

   20   50   40   80   10

octave:2> [sorted index] = sort (a)
sorted =

   10   20   40   50   80

index =

   5   1   3   2   4

Although these functional languages provides gives these features in C/C++ it is not immediately available using the builtin sort library functions. But the sorting routines accepts a function pointer to a comparison function, writing appropriate code for which will do the trick.
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C Q&A #2: Watch your shift!

What do you this should be the output of the below code? Is there any problem in the code?

#include <stdio.h>

int main(void)
  int x = -1, y = 1, a, b, c, d, e, f;

  a = x << 4;
  b = x >> 4;
  c = y << 4;
  d = y >> 4;
  e = y << sizeof (int) * 8;
  f = y << -4;

  printf("a = %x \nb = %x \nc = %x \nd = %x \ne = %x \nf = %x",a, b, c, d, e, f);

  printf ("\n");
  return 0;

Continue reading “C Q&A #2: Watch your shift!”