## Tuesday, July 21, 2015

### SkipRope

Problem:

 TopCoder Problem Statement - SkipRope Single Round Match 172 Round 1 - Division II, Level One

Overview:

Find the two numbers in an array that are closest to the given number.

Java Source:
```     1 import java.util.Arrays;
2
3 public class SkipRope {
4
5     public int[] partners(int[] candidates, int height) {
6
7         int[] heights = {Integer.MAX_VALUE, Integer.MAX_VALUE};
8
9         for (int c : candidates) {
10             if (isCloser(c, heights[0], height)) {
11
12     /*
13     * If closer that the closest, then bump the closest
14     * into 2nd place, and set the candidate to be
15     * the new closest.
16     */
17                 heights[1] = heights[0];
18                 heights[0] = c;
19
20             } else if (isCloser(c, heights[1], height)) {
21
22                 // Set 2nd place to be the candidate.
23                 heights[1] = c;
24             }
25         }
26
27         Arrays.sort(heights);
28
29         return heights;
30     }
31
32     /*
33     * Returns true if the candidate is closer in height than the current
34     * person.  If the two are the same distance apart, then ties go
35     * to the taller person.
36     */
37     private static boolean isCloser(int candidate, int current, int height) {
38
39         int diffCandidate = Math.abs(height - candidate);
40         int diffCurrent = Math.abs(height - current);
41
42         if (diffCandidate < diffCurrent) return true;
43
44         if (diffCandidate > diffCurrent) return false;
45
46         // Ties go to the taller person.
47         return candidate > current;
48
49     }
50 }
```
Notes:

The solution starts by creating an array (heights) to store the two closest numbers. It sets their initial values to Integer.MAX_VALUE to ensure they're far enough away from our height that the first two numbers seen are guaranteed to be closers.

Then we make one pass through the list of candidate heights. If the height is closer than the value in position 0, we move the closest into the second closest position, and insert our candidate in position 0 as the next closest height.

If the height is not the closest, but it is closer than the second closest, then we simply replace the the height in position 1 with our current candidate's height.

The method isCloser determines if the value is candidate is closer to height than the value of current. Note that we must take the absolute value of the difference. In the event of a tie closer is determined by if candidate is greater than current.