Verily Phone Screen Interview

That is a sad story…

Just several days ago, I received an email from Verily, an Alphabet company which delicates in life science. Their HR passed my application and going to move me to the phone interview. However, I messed it up…

I have to say that interview is not a difficult one. The question is like a medium level question at Leetcode:

Given a 1-dimensional axis, a man can move left or right in each time unit. How many possibilities that the man stands on x point after t time units?

I stupidly tried DP at first and struggled in how to implement the state transform formula, that wastes a lot of time.

Today, I reviewed this question and found a fairly easy solution. We do not even need Dynamic Programming.

l + r = t   (1)
r - l = x   (2)

Once we solve this equation, we can directly calculate the number of combinations. For example, the total possibilities of that man stand on point 5 after 9 time units is C72 = 21.

Word Break

Given a non-empty string s and a dictionary wordDict containing a list of non-empty words, determine if s can be segmented into a space-separated sequence of one or more dictionary words.


  • The same word in the dictionary may be reused multiple times in the segmentation.
  • You may assume the dictionary does not contain duplicate words.

Example 1:

Input: s = "leetcode", wordDict = ["leet", "code"]
Output: true
Explanation: Return true because "leetcode" can be segmented as "leet code".

Example 2:

Input: s = "applepenapple", wordDict = ["apple", "pen"]
Output: true
Explanation: Return true because "applepenapple" can be segmented as "apple pen apple".
             Note that you are allowed to reuse a dictionary word.

Example 3:

Input: s = "catsandog", wordDict = ["cats", "dog", "sand", "and", "cat"]
Output: false

Recently, I am going to pick up my leetcode skills.

This problem that I still remember It token me more than two days to consider, but this time it was aced in 5 minutes, as well as just in nearly 1 line core code.

It seems like practising is really useful!

from functools import lru_cache

class Solution:
    def wordBreak(self, s: str, wordDict: List[str]) -> bool:
        def dfs(s):
            return True if not s else any(dfs(s[len(word):]) for word in wordDict if s.startswith(word))
        return dfs(s)

Max Increase to Keep City Skyline

In a 2 dimensional array grid, each value grid[i][j] represents the height of a building located there. We are allowed to increase the height of any number of buildings, by any amount (the amounts can be different for different buildings). Height 0 is considered to be a building as well. 

At the end, the “skyline” when viewed from all four directions of the grid, i.e. top, bottom, left, and right, must be the same as the skyline of the original grid. A city’s skyline is the outer contour of the rectangles formed by all the buildings when viewed from a distance. See the following example.

What is the maximum total sum that the height of the buildings can be increased?

Input: grid = [[3,0,8,4],[2,4,5,7],[9,2,6,3],[0,3,1,0]]
Output: 35
The grid is:
[ [3, 0, 8, 4], 
  [2, 4, 5, 7],
  [9, 2, 6, 3],
  [0, 3, 1, 0] ]

The skyline viewed from top or bottom is: [9, 4, 8, 7]
The skyline viewed from left or right is: [8, 7, 9, 3]

The grid after increasing the height of buildings without affecting skylines is:

gridNew = [ [8, 4, 8, 7],
            [7, 4, 7, 7],
            [9, 4, 8, 7],
            [3, 3, 3, 3] ]


  • 1 < grid.length = grid[0].length <= 50.
  • All heights grid[i][j] are in the range [0, 100].
  • All buildings in grid[i][j] occupy the entire grid cell: that is, they are a 1 x 1 x grid[i][j] rectangular prism.
class Solution:
    def maxIncreaseKeepingSkyline(self, grid: List[List[int]]) -> int:
        lr_view = [max(line) for line in grid]
        tb_view = [max(line) for line in zip(*grid)]
        result = 0
        for i in range(len(grid)):
            for j in range(len(grid[0])):
                diff = min(tb_view[j], lr_view[i]) - grid[i][j]
                result += max(0, diff)
        return result


Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.

Lex Luthor