Engineering interview questions shared by candidates
A train leaves San Antonio for Huston at 60mph. Another train leaves Huston for San Antonio at 80mph. Huston and San Antonio are 300 miles apart. If a bird leaves San Antonio at 100mph, and turnes around and flies back once it reaches the Huston train, and continues to fly between the two, how far will it have flown when they collide.
Find out how long it will take the two trains to collide, then multiply that number by the birds flying speed.
There are several scenarios to consider. Scenario 1 - Since trains rarely collide, the bird will hypothetically continue to fly forever, thus the answer is infinity miles. However, this is obviously not a rational outcome since the bird will tire, need to stop for nourishment, and require rest. In addition, one would need to know more about the bird such as the average lifespan and the realistic length of time the bird can fly at a sustained speed of 100 miles per hour. Of course, the term "bird" is sometimes used colloquially when referring to an airplane. Scenario 2 - Assuming both trains leave at the exact same moment, then the distance between them will be reduced by 140 miles per hour, which is the combined speeds of both trains. Therefore, it will take (300/140) = 2.14 hours before the two trains collide thus the bird would have flow (2.14*100) = 214 miles. However, this assumes both trains are traveling at a constant speed on a single track void of any modern collision avoidance systems, and that neither train makes any scheduled stops along the way, which again is not a real world scenario. Of course, the only bird capable of flying 100 mph sustained for more than 2 hours is an airplane. Scenario 3 - Assuming I am interviewing for an upper level management position and solving the problem will significantly impact the company's bottom-line and thus impact my bonus, I would hire a management consulting company specializing in mathematic modeling to solve the problem and offer suggestions to optimize the collision such that it would conserve as much energy as possible for both trains and the bird.
Where is Huston, Texas? I didn't see it on the map. The only city that I see approx 300 miles of San Antonio is Houston. So since there is not Huston then there is no train and hence no collision. The bird flies till it dies.
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