Fund. CS II (CS152 2005F)

Exam 2: From Arrays to Algorithms

Distributed: Friday, 4 November 2005
Due: 11:00 a.m., Friday, 11 November 2005
No extensions.

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There are four problems on the exam. Some problems have subproblems. Each problem is worth twenty-five (25) points. The point value associated with a problem does not necessarily correspond to the complexity of the problem or the time required to solve the problem.

This examination is open book, open notes, open mind, open computer, open Web. However, it is closed person. That means you should not talk to other people about the exam. Other than as restricted by that limitation, you should feel free to use all reasonable resources available to you. As always, you are expected to turn in your own work. If you find ideas in a book or on the Web, be sure to cite them appropriately.

Although you may use the Web for this exam, you may not post your answers to this examination on the Web (at least not until after I return exams to you). And, in case it's not clear, you may not ask others (in person, via email, via IM, by posting a please help message, or in any other way) to put answers on the Web.

This is a take-home examination. You may use any time or times you deem appropriate to complete the exam, provided you return it to me by the due date.

I expect that someone who has mastered the material and works at a moderate rate should have little trouble completing the exam in a reasonable amount of time. In particular, this exam is likely to take you about four to six hours, depending on how well you've learned topics and how fast you work. You should not work more than eight hours on this exam. Stop at eight hours and write There's more to life than CS and you will earn at least 75 points on this exam.

I would also appreciate it if you would write down the amount of time each problem takes. Each person who does so will earn two points of extra credit. Since I worry about the amount of time my exams take, I will give two points of extra credit to the first two people who honestly report that they've spent at least five hours on the exam or completed the exam. (At that point, I may then change the exam.)

You must include both of the following statements on the cover sheet of the examination. Please sign and date each statement. Note that the statements must be true; if you are unable to sign either statement, please talk to me at your earliest convenience. You need not reveal the particulars of the dishonesty, simply that it happened. Note also that inappropriate assistance is assistance from (or to) anyone other than Professor Rebelsky (that's me).

1. I have neither received nor given inappropriate assistance on this examination.
2. I am not aware of any other students who have given or received inappropriate assistance on this examination.

Because different students may be taking the exam at different times, you are not permitted to discuss the exam with anyone until after I have returned it. If you must say something about the exam, you are allowed to say This is among the hardest exams I have ever taken. If you don't start it early, you will have no chance of finishing the exam. You may also summarize these policies. You may not tell other students which problems you've finished. You may not tell other students how long you've spent on the exam.

You must both answer all of your questions electronically and turn in a printed version of your exam. That is, you must write all of your answers on the computer, print them out, number the pages, put your name on every page, and hand me the printed copy. You must also email me a copy of your exam by copying the various parts of your exam and pasting it into an email message. Put your answers in the same order as the problems. Please write your name at the top of each sheet of the printed copy. Failing to do so will lead to a penalty of two points.

In many problems, I ask you to write code. Unless I specify otherwise in a problem, you should write working code and include examples that show that you've tested the code.

Just as you should be careful and precise when you write code and documentation, so should you be careful and precise when you write prose. Please check your spelling and grammar. Since I should be equally careful, the whole class will receive one point of extra credit for each error in spelling or grammar you identify on this exam. I will limit that form of extra credit to five points.

I will give partial credit for partially correct answers. You ensure the best possible grade for yourself by emphasizing your answer and including a clear set of work that you used to derive the answer.

I may not be available at the time you take the exam. If you feel that a question is badly worded or impossible to answer, note the problem you have observed and attempt to reword the question in such a way that it is answerable. If it's a reasonable hour (before 10 p.m. and after 8 a.m.), feel free to try to call me in the office (269-4410) or at home (236-7445).

I will also reserve time at the start of classes next week to discuss any general questions you have on the exam.


Problem 1: Arbitrarily-Large Arrays

Topics: ADT design, Vectors, arrays, exceptions.

As you may have noted, there are problems with both arrays and Vectors. Both are nice because they are efficient. Arrays seem to have too few operators (e.g., they don't expand). Vectors have the added benefit that they can expand when necessary. Vectors also have the disadvantage that they include way too many operations, operations which do not always have clear running times.

The minimalist philosophy of ADT design suggests that you design ADTs with only a few key operations, rather than a wide variety. As we saw in the Fibonacci example, it is often useful to have array-like structures, but to have those structures automatically expand to whatever size is necessary. Let us call such structures arbitrarily-large arrays. Because parameterized types are complex, we'll look at a particular kind of array, the arbitrarily-large array of integers, which we will call ArbitrarilyLargeIntegerArray.

Implement an ArbitrarilyLargeIntegerArray class that provides the following constructors and methods.

Note that your implementation will be much like that of Vectors. That is, you'll have an underlying array that you will have to change whenever the index in set is too large.

Problem 2: Minimizing Change

Topics: Algorithm design, experimental algorithm analysis, Vectors, dynamic programming.

As you may recall, in the first exam you wrote a method that converted a numeric deposit into a corresponding set of coins. You may not realize it, but the strategy used for that method determined the fewest possible coins for the deposit.

That is, that method solved a particular instance of a famous computer science problem known as the coin minimization problem. Given a set of coin values (e.g., 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 or 2, 3, 8, 25, 40), and a particular price, find the fewest coins that make that particular value.

For example, given coin values of 2, 3, 8, 25, 40, the fewest coins to make a value of 19 is 3 (8, 8, and 3) and the fewest coins to make a value of 50 is 2 (25 and 25).

How do you figure out the fewest coins? One possible solution is the greedy solution: To find the fewest coins, assume you use as many as possible of the most expensive coin, and then as many as possible of the next most expensive coin, and so on and so forth. You used that solution on the previous exam. Unfortunately, that solution won't work for all combinations of coins. For example, if the coins have values 2, 5, 8, 25, and 40, the greedy solution will select 40, 8, and 2 to make 50 cents, when the best solution is to use 25 and 25.

A more correct solution is the exhaustive search solution. For each denomination, we assume that we use one of that denomination, reduce the amount appropriately, and recurse. We then take the smallest of those solutions. Here is an implementation of that solution:

package rebelsky.exam2;

 * Something that helps us count coins.
 * @author Samuel A. Rebelsky
 * @author YOUR NAME HERE
public class CoinCounter
// +--------+--------------------------------------------------
// | Fields |
// +--------+

   * The valid coin values.
  int[] denominations;

// +--------------+--------------------------------------------
// | Constructors |
// +--------------+

   * Build a new coin counter for a particular set of denominations.
   * @pre
   *   The values in _denominations must be stored in 
   *   decreasing order.
   * @pre
   *   All values in _denominations must be positive.
  public CoinCounter(int[] _denominations)
    this.denominations = _denominations;
  } // CoinCounter(int[])

// +----------------+------------------------------------------
// | Public Methods |
// +----------------+

   * Determine the fewest number of coins necessary to
   * make a particular price.
   * @exception Exception
   *   If it is not possible to make that price.
  public int fewestCoins(int price)
    throws Exception
    // Simple solution: No coins needed for no price.
    if (price == 0)
      return 0;
    // Fewest represents the fewest coins we've done so far
    int fewest = Integer.MAX_VALUE;
    for (int i = 0; i < this.denominations.length; i++) {
      int coin = this.denominations[i];
      if (coin <= price) {
        try {
          int sub = this.fewestCoins(price-coin);
          if (sub+1 < fewest)
            fewest = sub+1;
        } // try
        catch (Exception e) {
          // It's okay we failed, we'll just
          // try a different denomination.
        } // catch
      } // if (coin <= price)
    } // for
    // Make sure that we found a solution
    if (fewest == Integer.MAX_VALUE)
      throw new Exception("Can't make change for " + price);
    return fewest;
  } // fewestCoins(int)

} // class CoinCounter

You may find it useful to test the program with

Note that for some choices of denominations, it is not possible to determine a number of coins that exactly make a particular value. For example, for values of 2, 5, and 8, there is no way to make the values 1 or 3. The fewestCoins method throws an exception in such cases.

a. Extend CoinCounter so that it lets you count the number of recursive calls that the fewestCoins does. Make a chart to show the growth in the number of recursive calls as the price increases.

As you may have noted, that implementation is not very efficient because we repeatedly compute the same value again and again and again. For example, in computing the number of coins for 40 cents using denominations of 2, 3, and 5, we check the number of coins for 35 cents at least three times (40-5, 40-2-3, 40-3-2). As importantly, each of those three computations requires at least three computations of the number of coins to make 30 cents (35-5, 35-2-3, 35-3-2). Hence, we do at least nine calls to fewestCoins(30). Similarly, we do at least twenty-seven calls to fewestCoins(25), at least 81 calls to fewestCoins(20), and so on and so forth.

As you saw in our discussion of Fibonacci numbers, we can make computations more efficient by caching previous results. This technique is called dynamic programming. For this particular example, we can remember the number of coins for a particular price the first time we compute it and then checking it the next time. In pseudocode:

To compute the number of coins to make N cents
  if we have previously computed that result
    return the previously computed result
    BEST = N+1 // A very large number
    for each coin value, V
      compute C, the number of coins to make N-V
      if (C+1 < BEST)
        BEST = C+1
    remember that BEST coins are needed to make N cents
    return BEST

How do we remember the number of coins? We use a Vector (or an ArbitrarilyLargeIntegerArray) indexed by the price. We initialize each cell to some value (say 0, -1, or null) to indicate not yet computed. How do we know the array is big enough? We allocate it before the first (outermost) call to fewestCoinsHelper. Approximately,

public int fewestCoins(int price)
  throws Exception
  // Build a sufficiently large vector.
  // Use the helper to do the real work
  return fewestCoinsHelper(price);
} // fewestCoins(int)

// Pre: this.previouslyComputed.size() > price
public int fewestCoinsHelper(int price)
  throws Exception
  // If we've previously determined that no such value exists,
  // throw an exception.
  if (this.previouslyComputed.get(price) == this.NO_SUCH_VALUE) {
    throw new Exception("No combination of coins works.");
  // If we've previously found a number of coins, return it
  else if (this.previouslyComputed.get(price) != this.NOT_COMPUTED) {
    return this.previouslyComputed.get(price);
  // Otherwise, compute and save the result
  else {
} // fewestCoinsHelper(int)

b. Rewrite fewestCoins to use this improvement.

c. Make a chart to show the growth in the number of recursive calls as the price increases. What does the new growth curve look like?

Problem 3: A New Tester for CoinCounter

Topics: Testers, arrays, the main method.

One disadvantage of the tester for CoinCounter is that we have to change the code and recompile each time we want to try a different set of values or different starting and ending price.

Write a new tester, TCC which permits you to specify the coin values and starting and ending price on the command line. For example,

# ji TCC 10-20 5 2 1
Computing prices from 10 to 20 using values [5,2,1]
A price of 10 cents requires 2 coins.
A price of 11 cents requires 3 coins.
A price of 20 cents requires 4 coins.
# ji TCC 50-65 50 7
Computing prices from 50 to 65 using values [50,7]
A price of 50 cents requires 1 coin.
A price of 51 cents cannot be computed.
A price of 52 cents cannot be computed.
A price of 64 cents requires 3 coins.
A price of 65 cents cannot be computed.

Problem 4: A More General Binary Search

Topics: Parameterized types, binary search, reading documentation.

You may recall that we experimented with a form of binary search in the lab on algorithm analysis. That method looked something like the following:

   * Search for val in an ordered vector.
   * @param val 
   *   The value to search for
   * @param a
   *   A vector of values to search
   * @result
   *   index, the index of val
   * @pre
   *   a is in increasing order.
   * @post
   *   If index >=0, a.get(index) = val.
   *   If index is -1, there exists no i s.t. a.get(i) = val
   *   Does not modify a.
  public int binarySearch(BigInteger val, Vector<BigInteger> a)
    // Determine the lower-bound of the range on interest.
    int lb = 0;

    // Determine  the upper-bound of the range of interest.
    int ub = a.size() - 1;

    // Repeatedly look in the middle and discard as necessary
    while (lb <= ub) {
      // Get the middle
      int mid = (lb+ub)/2;
      // Determine relationships
      int order = val.compareTo(a.get(mid));
      // Best possible option: the middle matches
      if (order == 0)
        return mid;
      // Another option: the middle is too large
      else if (order < 0) {
        ub = mid-1;
      // The last option: The middle is too small
      else {
        lb = mid + 1;
    } // while
    // If we've reached this point, it's not there.
    return -1;
  } // binarySearch

After your experience with Scheme (and with polymorphism in Java), you should be a little bit upset by this method, since it works for only one type.

What should we do? We should generalize the method. How do we generalize the method? We parameterize the class with the underlying type, and we extend binarySearch to take not only the value and the vector, but also the comparator, as parameters. Here's the result (with some additional stuff).

package rebelsky.exam2;

import java.util.Comparator;
import java.util.Vector;

 * Objects that know how to binary search ordered vectors which contain
 * values of type T.
 * @author Samuel A. Rebelsky
 * @author YourNameHere
 * @version 0.1 of November 2005
public class BinarySearcher<T>
  // +---------+-------------------------------------------------
  // | Methods |
  // +---------+

   * Determine whether or not vec is ordered according to order.
  public boolean ordered(Vector<T> vec, Comparator<T> order)
    int len = vec.size();
    // Repeatedly compare neighboring elements.  If any two are out
    // of place, vec is not ordered.
    for (int i = 0; i < len-1; i++) {
      if (, vec.get(i+1)) > 0) {
        return false;
    // If we've made it this far, everything is in order.
    return true;
  } // ordered(Vector<T>, Comparator<T>)

   * Search for val in an ordered vector.
   * @param val   
   *   The value to search for
   * @param vec
   *   A vector of values to search
   * @param order
   *   A comparator that specifies the underlying order of the Vector.
   * @result 
   *   index, the index of val
   * @pre
   *   a is in increasing order (according to the order of this searcher).
   * @post
   *   If index >=0, a.get(index) = val.
   *   If index is -1, there exists no i s.t. a.get(i) = val
   *   Does not modify a.
  public int binarySearch(T val, Vector<T> vec, Comparator<T> order)
    // STUB
    return -1;
  } // binarySearch(T, Vector<T>, Comparator<T>)

} // class BinarySearcher<T>

a. Fill in the body of binarySearch.

b. Test your binarySearch for correctness using a variety of types. (Search in arrays of Integers, Strings, and BigIntegers.) At least one of these tests should be fairly comprehensive (that is, test not just that it works with that type of parameter, but it seems to work universally).

Note that you may have to read the documentation for java.util.Comparator closely. You may also have to implement your own comparators.

Some Questions and Answers

These are some of the questions students have asked about the exam and my answers to those questions.

Problem 1

What type should the underlying array be, int[] or Integer[]?
Your life will be much easier if you use Integer[] (and that's why I had Integers as parameters and return types).
Should I expand the underlying array in calls to get?
You can, but you need not. I made size depend only on set and the constructor so that you did not need to expand the array with set.
Can you explain again what size() should return?
If the parameterized constructor was used, and the parameter is greater than the largest index used in a call to set, return the parameter used in the constructor. Otherwise, use the largest index in a call to set. For example, if we initially set it to be size 100, and never used an index greater than 10, size() should return 100. Similarly, if we set the initial size to 10 (or never set an initial size), and used an index of 200, size() should return 200.
How can I tell if a value has not been set?
If you use my recommendation of an array of Integers, then any position that contains null has not been set.
How do I get null in those positions?
When you create the array, Java automatically fills all cells with null.

Problem 2

What do you recommend that I use to graph the points?
gnumeric works well in the linux environment (although you'll probably have to draw any lines by hand). Experienced Maple users may find that Maple works well.

Problem 4

Can I see some examples of the use of Comparators?
Sure. contains a method that uses a Comparator. and provide sample comparators. puts it all together.


Here you will find errors of spelling, grammar, and design that students have noted. Remember, each error found corresponds to a point of extra credit for everyone. I limit such extra credit to five points.



Late October, 2005 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

Thursday, 3 November 2005 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

Friday, 4 November 2005 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

Wednesday, 9 November 2005 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]


Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

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