Hints for SRM 499, D2, 250-pointer (Cryptography)

James S. Plank

Mon Mar 24 14:02:12 EDT 2014
Problem Statement.
First off, you need to figure out -- given a collection of numbers, which number do I increment so that the product is increased by the largest amount? It shouldn't be too hard to see that you need to increment the smallest number.

If you want to prove that formally, you can. Suppose you have a collection of numbers whose product is P. And suppose you have two numbers in the collection, a and b such that a < b. If you increment a, you change the product from P to P(a+1)/a. If you increment b, you change the product to P(b+1)/b. Since a < b, we know that (a+1)/a > (b+1)/b. (If you are stuck on that, think about examples: 3/2 is definitely greater than 101/100, right?) That means incrementing a will increase the factor by the greatest amount.

So, you need to find the minimum element and increment it. I would do that by sorting the vector and then incrementing the first element.

Now how about calculating the product? Since you are told that the product will be ≤ 262, you need to use a 64-bit integer. In C++, this is a long long. Calculate your product using that, and you're done.