Facebook Hacker Cup 2012 – How to solve Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup was by far the easiest problem in the qualifiers. I am not talking implementation but about understanding the problem. In some cases the “problem designers” did a good job in confusing me for at least an hour by their style in description. In alphabet soup’s case the problem was formulated as follows:

Alfredo Spaghetti really likes soup, especially when it contains alphabet pasta. Every day he constructs a sentence from letters, places the letters into a bowl of broth and enjoys delicious alphabet soup.

Today, after constructing the sentence, Alfredo remembered that the Facebook Hacker Cup starts today! Thus, he decided to construct the phrase “HACKERCUP”. As he already added the letters to the broth, he is stuck with the letters he originally selected. Help Alfredo determine how many times he can place the word “HACKERCUP” side-by-side using the letters in his soup.


The first line of the input file contains a single integer T: the number of test cases. T lines follow, each representing a single test case with a sequence of upper-case letters and spaces: the original sentence Alfredo constructed.


Output T lines, one for each test case. For each case, output “Case #t: n”, where t is the test case number (starting from 1) and n is the number of times the word “HACKERCUP” can be placed side-by-side using the letters from the sentence.


  • 1 < T ≤ 20
  • Sentences contain only the upper-case letters A-Z and the space character
  • Each sentence contains at least one letter, and contains at most 1000 characters, including spaces

To solve it, simply iterate through the characters in the string, counting how frequently each of them occurs.

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Facebook Hacker Cup 2012 – starts in 2 weeks

Hackers around the world, here are some good news

Facebook is starting its second (now annual) Facebook Hacker Cup. Get your coke, beer or even glas of redwine next to you, arrange some brain-food and get in a relaxed postion. There will be some code to be written in the next weeks. That’s a challenge all AI-Class Students shall be interested in.

If you are willing to submit your solutions to different hacking problems, you may qualify for the first of three online rounds. The competition commences with a 72-hour Qualification Round on January 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM PT and ends on January 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM PT. You will be presented with three problems and if you correctly solves at least one problem, you will advance to Online Round 1. All online Rounds will be occuring in January 2012 with world finals held at Facebook’s headquarters in California, registration started January 4, 2012.

Facebook will pay to fly and accommodate the top 25 hackers from the third online round out to their californian campus and there is more to win:

$5,000 USD and title as world champion to the top hacker
$2,000 for second place
$1,000 for third
$100 for fourth through 25th
Awesome t-shirts for the top 100 hackers coming out of the second online round

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