I teach 109

I'm Luke, I teach CMPT-109 at Montclair State University and this is my blog.

File Comparison Challenge


This is a challenge assignment, which means you may or may not be able to accomplish it. Approach it as you would a puzzle interview question. It doesn’t matter if you actually fail at the task, it matters how you go about solving it.

This challenge pertains to you ability to handle technology related issues. Imagine you were given two files that are nearly identical and given the task to find whether or not there are any differences between them, how would you go about it?

To make this easier, let me give you the two files (hint: right click and “save as”):

file #1

file #2

Your first instinct might be to read these files looking for obvious discrepancies, but that is not the right approach. Firstly, these documents are very long. Secondly, they are written in pseudo-Latin gibberish and completely devoid of any meaning. To sit down and compare them by hand would be mind numbing and extremely tedious.

I submit that you should be able to accurately compare these two files, and be able to give me a list of all the differences (by line number) in less than a minute (not including research time).

Note that the files are definitely not identical: there are more than two (but less than ten) minor differences between them.

Your task is to tell me which lines in file #2 were changed with respect to the file #1, which exact words in each of the lines were altered and how you found them.

Submit your findings via email. Put CMPT-CHALLENGE in the subject line.