Thursday, January 3, 2008

Problem Solvers wanted

Google apparently is behind this mysterious billboard that presents a nice number theory problem. I love number theory!

Of course, I could have written a program to sift through the digits of e to find the answer to this question, but I’m a pragmatic soul and figure why not just use Google since it’s 3 AM and I’m tired (I know, it’s cheating, but how good Google fault you for using Google?) The answer to this problem is also a website (7427466391) which presents a more challenging problem.

    Congratulations. You've made it to level 2. Go to and enter Bobsyouruncle as the login and the answer to this equation as the password.

        f(1)= 7182818284
        f(2)= 8182845904
        f(3)= 8747135266
        f(4)= 7427466391
        f(5)= __________

Keeping in theme with Google’s love affair for the number e, I soon realized (by looking at this site that displays the first 2 million digits of e) that each of these numbers are consecutive 10 digit sequences of e.

I’ll give you a hint, if you sum the digits of each number (something I typically do to see if the numbers are divisible by 3), you’ll find an interesting result (other than they aren’t divisible by 3). That should lead you to the final answer with a bit of coding.

The final answer takes you to a recruiting page. What an ingenious and clever way to recruit talent, though I suppose by giving away the answer, I’ve defeated the purpose. How naughty!

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