Update - 6th April 00:10 AM - The first phase of the Hunt-For-Neo is now officially declared closed. We will be contacting the winners of the first round, for the next phase, face-to-face tests and interviews.

Meanwhile, watch this space for the scores obtained by the respondents, the award for the most creative answer per question, and the actual answers as we expected them.

It was a great week interacting with you all. We really had a great time setting it up for you and reviewing your responses and comments. Hope you had a great time too. -- See ya soon!

Update - 4th April 11:25 AM - There was a hack-attack late last night, on this system. Somebody tried to hack through the password for accessing the answers that others have submitted. While we appreciate this novel (if straightforward) approach to preparing the answers, we suggest the creative energies be channelized towards getting the answer set ready all by yourself. Hold on just another day mates, we will release scores, information about who we are, next steps for chosen candidates, by Monday.

Update - 2nd April 10:10 AM - Like Charles Caleb Colton said, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!". We've even got an imitator. http://neojobs.blogspot.com!

Update - 2nd April 10:00 AM - It cost us 19,560 rupees to post that Ad in the Hindu Appointments Page, guys. It is only unfortunate that it coincided with the advent of the Annual April Fools' Day. Please don't think this is a joke. A lot of effort has gone into formulating this. We plan to announce the results by this weekend. You will only be missing a golden opportunity, if you go by some of the posts that were made in this column, that this was just one big practical joke. - The Matrix Team.

Successful Respondents till now!
1Arvind Samy1:41 PM 31 March
2Selva manoharan2:00 PM 31 March
3Vijay3:34 PM 31 March
4Antony das4:01 PM 31 March
5Karthik8:13 PM 31 March
6Arun Rabindar9:38 PM 31 March
7Sumod Nair9:47 PM 31 March
8Rajeev Nair9:48 PM 31 March
9Bala Chander11:08 PM 31 March
10Ganesh1:08 AM 1 April
11Prasath10:32 AM 1 April
12Srini Vasan10:42 AM 1 April
13Ganesh Kumar11:33 AM 1 April
14Manikantan12:23 AM 1 April
15Gopalan I2:17 PM 1 April
16Pazhamalai Nathan G2:47 PM 1 April
17Sajil Koroth3:45 PM 1 April
18Guru Prasad3:47 PM 1 April
19Kalyan Sekhar5:06 PM 1 April
20Anandhi Karthikeyan5:09 PM 1 April
21Rahul Dev*5:39 PM 1 April
22Senthil Kumar8:14 PM 1 April
23Sreedar P8:21 PM 1 April
24Ranjith Mani9:54 PM 1 April
25Barath J11:05 AM 2 April
26Prasanna Venkatesh11:10 AM 2 April
27Sunrise Thanuja11:26 AM 2 April
28Sunkarakalyan12:40 PM 2 April
29Sanjeeth Kumar**1:05 PM 2 April
30Gangadhar NPK2:24 PM 2 April
31Kurian Thomas4:22 PM 2 April
32Rajiv Shankar4:25 PM 2 April
33Selvaguru Santthosh4:55 PM 2 April
34Sreevani Namala5:03 PM 2 April
35Prabhu Joshua8:57 PM 2 April
36Vivek Venugopal1:06 AM 3 April
37Meenakshi Sundaram9:51 AM 3 April
38Shyam Sundar4:33 PM 3 April
39Bhasker Kode00:21 AM 4 April
40Vineeth S11:14 AM 4 April
41Vinodh Kumar10:15 PM 4 April
42Bala Subramaniyan11:13 PM 4 April
43Sriram Sankaran11:22 PM 4 April
44Akash Shetty3:31 PM 5 April
45Duruvan Duru Ganesh8:40 PM 5 April
46A Sivagurunathan10:02 PM 5 April
47Harish Rajagopalan10:16 PM 5 April
48Lokesh Prasad10:32 PM 5 April
49Manokaran Kittuswamy(Past Zero Hour)
(*Others might not, but Rahul knows why he is a star!)
(**Sanjeeth did something nobody else did, and won two stars for himself!!)

"I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible." -- Neo, The Matrix

Is that the confidence you feel about your ability as a programmer? Have you dreamt of creating a world with your programming skills, a world that has hitherto never even been conceived?

Well, here’s your golden chance! An opportunity to make those programming dreams come real!

Tackle challenges daily while others just do jobs.

Lead the way and create a path, while others are just content following on well-beaten tracks.

Work in an environment where the salary is just an additional encouragement, instead of continuing in a cubicle farm where that salary is the only encouragement.

Who’s inviting you?

We are a software development team looking for some unusually gifted programmers and hackers.

We care not whether you are a Ph.D scholar or a highschool-dropout.

It is not for us to question your age or gender.

We really wonder why some people ask for prior experience when it comes to software jobs.

We don't care if you hate java or call Microsoft M$, for godssake.

The stuff that matters, the only stuff that matters to us, is your ability to solve a knotty problem and hack through a singularity in a matrix of obstacles.

To see if you've got it in you, to find out if you are the Neo we are looking for, just jot down your answers to the questions you find below, and speed them away to thematrix@xerago.com.

This aptitude test is the first hurdle. Cross this and you will be invited to our svelte office in Chennai for a tech-test battering ram. Hold up to that and there will be a face-to-face interview. We look forward to meeting you!

The questions might seem to imply a good memory and an interest in movies. NO, we are not trying to find out how well you remember that cult movie. The characters and scenes used here are just props to the actual questions.

  1. If The One's was Neo Anderson, what is yours? View AnswerNeo Anderson
    We expected your name here. Simple. One of the whackiest answers we got was:- Actually Neo's name was Thomas Anderson not Neo Anderson. Mine is XYZ (name withheld)

  2. Have you seen the Matrix movie(s)? Just curious. View Answer
    Knowledge about the movie, as we stated earlier, wasn't needed. But, we were just curious. This was a no-scorer-question. But, those who DIDN'T answer this question at all, lost 100 marks out of a possible 8800. One of the whackiest answers we got was:- Yes; Matrix 35 times, Reloaded 15 times, Revolutions 1 time

  3. If you were to liken the whole Matrix trilogy, characters, events, to a software environment, what comparisons can you draw? (For example, The Matrix is the Internet?) View Answer
    This was again a very low-weightage question. There were many interesting possibilities. Neo as the uberhacker. The Matrix as the Internet. Smith as a smart agent scouring the web. The Oracle as Google, and so on..... One of the whackiest answers we got was:- No, I think it compares to christianity/antichrist more than to some software environment. How does it matter if "Matrix" or "Lion king" matches some software movement? For all you know i cud be bullshitting. Grow up.

  4. TrinityTrinity has informed Neo that Agent Smith has started multiplying. According to current calculations, in the next sixty minutes, there will be as many Smith clones as there are zeroes at the end of 100! (hundred factorial). Help Neo get a grasp of that number. How many zeroes trail 100! ? (FYI, thousand is trailed by three zeroes, million by six zeroes). View Answer
    24 is the right answer. Check this URL for help (http://www.techinterview.org/Solutions/fog0000000150.html). One of the whackiest answers we got was:- 156 zeros ---> 9.33262154439441E+157 is 100! Hence. Another guy even wrote a C program to arrive at the answer!

  5. MorpheusMorpheus offers Neo the Blue pill and the Red pill. Neo takes the blue pill. Or, was it the red pill? Well, forget it.... Tell me, is there a way to swap the values of two variables without the trivial approach of using a third storage variable? Send us the code. (Any language acceptable..) View Answer
    A=A+B, B=A-B, A=A-B was what we were expecting. And, yes, the question was a bit flawed. (Would work only for "numerics"). One of the whackiest answers we got was:- Python would allow the beautiful a, b = b, a (it is damn intuitive, aint it ?)

  6. When Neo asks Merovingian for the Keymaker, he asks Neo for the number of different ways to test if a number is prime. How many different ways do you know? Send us the pseudocodes. View Answer
    A Google-search would easily yield enough and more tests. All we wanted to test was your ability to write pseudocode. One of the whackiest answers we got was:- One comes to mind right now, ive never had to find primes and i usually look through books for algos. this one is a bit simple an involves brute force ans is very slow. I used python.
    def isPrimes(n): return reduce(lambda a b: a or b, [n % i == 0 for i in range(2, n)])

  7. Morpheus is treating the whole group to a big dinner on the Nebucchadnazar. How many unique different ways can the ten adventurers be seated if the table is circular? And, what if the table is a narrow plank with seats on one side? View Answer
    Circular table:- (n-1)! = 9 factorial = 362880.
    Straight table:- (n)! = 10 factorial = 3628800.

  8. Agent SmithThe Agents are on hot pursuit. Trinity needs to send "Hello World Wide Web" 2004 times before she can transport back into the real world. Help her write a simple program which prints "Hello World Wide Web" 2004 times, each time on a new line. Just one hitch. The Agents have a trace running, and it will detect and invalidate your source code if it contains any of the letters from the string "bojwolbyxes". So, how are you going to write your C program to help Trinity? We recommend C, but use any programming language of your choice.
    View Answer
    Almost NONE of you got this right. The key was to NOT have ANYWHERE in the source code, occurence of the letters found in "bojwolbyxes". Some of you encoded the hello string painstakingly in ASCII, but failed by using for loops (which had the letter "o") or while loops (which had the letter "w"). Recursion was the key.

  9. Observe these numbers from the Matrix Junkscreen Datadrip. 8,5,4,9,7,6,3,2,0 -- That would be nine numbers in a strange sequence. If you were to fit in "The One" here, where would he fit? In other words, where does the missing numeral 1 fit in that sequence? View Answer
    A surprisingly large number of candidates got this one! The crux is to arrange the "numbers" alphabetically. So, "one" would fit in between "nine" and "seven". One of the whackiest answers we got was:- 8,5,4,9,7,6,1,3,2,0 === 'The One' should be fit between 6 and 3 because its alphabetically sorted!

  10. We had posted a small ad in the newspaper on Wednesday (The Hindu, Chennai Edition), Mar 31, 2004. We assume you are here because you followed a link from there. Anyway, you would find the ad at the top of this page. Now, if we had hidden a secret text message inside this picture, what common encryption method would we have been using? (In other words, what is the name of that method of storing secret messages?) View Answer
    Steganography was the word we were looking for. I heard from friends that some of you had even downloaded software to decode the picture. (No, we hadn't hidden anything there. Read the question again). One of the whackiest answers we got was:- steganography (i shud thank al quaida for this answer!!)

  11. PersephoneThe Oracle, the Mother of the Matrix, and The Architect, the Father of the matrix, are aboard a hovercraft each. The Oracle is at Point A. The Architect is at Point B. The two hovercrafts start towards each other at the same instant from the opposite ends of a wormhole in the matrix. One of them is faster (not sure which one!), and the two meet at a point 720 yards from the point A. After reaching the opposite ends respectively, they both take rest for ten minutes and start back. They now meet at a point 400 yards from the point B. To help the Oracle who is in trouble now, Neo needs to know the total length of the wormhole. Can you help? View Answer
    The distance is 1760 yards, or one mile exactly. Check this URL for help (http://home.att.net/~numericana/answer/recreational.htm#ferry). One of the whackiest answers we got was:- The oracle is faster than architect.. sorry got no further :-)

  12. Sati, the little girl in Matrix Revolutions, is playing with a circular disc of radius between 2 inches and 4 inches (Exact value not known...). Seraph, the martial arts expert, has a plastic square of side 10 inches. Neo has no gadgets (ruler, compass, etc) of his own, but he needs to find out the exact center of the circular disc. How can he? View Answer
    People really cut loose on this question. Real creativity was demonstrated. The answer we were looking for was using the right angle of the square to create an angle in a semicircle twice, and thus draw two diagonals which would give us the center. One of the whackiest answers we got was:- Fold the Circular Disc into a semi-circular disc. Then again fold the semi-circular disc into a semi-semi-circular disc. The corner of the s-s-c-disc is the center of the circle!

  13. TwinsMany open source enthusiasts have likened the Matrix to the company Microsoft, and Neo to one of their many evangelists like Stallman or Raymond. That aside, can you tell us of at least two major court-cases that Microsoft has got itself embroiled in, and the reason why, and your take on it, and the reason why?
    View Answer
    Open Answer. Google would have helped. But, surprisingly, the quality of the answers given were miserable. :-( One of the whackiest answers we got was:- My take: Microsoft has good programmers but bad management.

  14. Where are you working now, as what, and why do you want to join us? View Answer
    Again, low-weightage question. We were just seeing how you express yourself. One of the whackiest answers we got was:- The Ad says You are least bothered about my age, gender & qualification.. So asking this question is in contradiction with your ad.

  15. And, hey, by the way, can you find out what company you are applying to?
    View Answer
    Blogs usually don't allow hosting of images, so we hosted them from our own website. Thought the smart among you will wise up to it. Some, in fact did. Many thought we were Microsoft! But, the whackiest one of them all:- Yes ... all you asked was if i could ;)

PS : Your entry will be DISQUALIFIED if you attach your resume or any other personal details.

PPS: There are no explicit time limits for this test, but applications that reach us earlier will be given priority.

PPPS : Got only three of these right? Send your answers in anyway! One of our team members could crack only two!

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