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The following activity is used with a “Memory and Thought” unit in a high school psychology course. The students are asked to solve a problem that is rumored to be given to candidates for a job at Microsoft. The candidates are expected to solve the problem in under 5 minutes!
I am a huge U2 and use this opportunity to show the class a video clip of the band, so they can identify the members in the problem. (This is certainly not necessary to completing the activity.)
Below are a few clips that you might be interested in sharing before handing out the problem.
U2 entering in Toronto (3:32)
U2 entering the stage in Helsinki August 21, 2010 (1:12)
U2 at the Lincoln Memorial: Obama 2009 Inauguration This is my clip of choice. I usually only show the first song: Pride in the Name of Love: (0:00 – 4:49). The other song that is performed is City of Blinding Lights (4:49).
U2 Live Aid 1985 (11:57) A very long clip, but an incredible performance of the song Bad at the Live Aid Concert 1985 is Bad

Microsoft Interview Question

U2 has a concert that starts in 17 minutes and they must all cross a bridge to get there. All four men begin on the same side of the bridge. You must help them across to the other side. It is night. There is one flashlight. A maximum of two people can cross at one time. Any party who crosses, either 1 or 2 people, must have the flashlight with them. The flashlight must be walked back and forth, it cannot be thrown, etc. Each band member walks at a different speed. A pair must walk together at the rate of the slower man’s pace:
Bono – 1 minute to cross
Edge – 2 minutes to cross
Adam – 5 minutes to cross
Larry – 10 minutes to cross
For example: If Bono and Larry walk across first, 10 minutes have elapsed when they get to the other side of the bridge. If Larry then returns with the flashlight, a total of 20 minutes have passed and you have failed the mission. Your goal is to get all the men across in 17 minutes or less.
Good Luck. If you need help with the answer, present it to a math teacher or honors student. There are 2 correct solutions.