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RMU Entrance Exam Jan, 2011 - PuzzleNode: Six Degrees of Separation

Brent Vatne

Notes for the reviewers

Hello! Thanks for taking the time to read this and evaluate my application. I apologize for the verbosity, feel free to skim through. Check out the "Read the Code" section below for my suggestions on how you can go about understanding my solution.

Use it

require 'six_degrees'

tweets        ="tweets.txt").read
twitter_users = SixDegrees::TwitterParser.parse(tweets)
social_graph  =

Or you can use /bin/twitter_network from the command line:

ruby bin/twitter_graph full_path_to_file

Run it with the examples:

ruby bin/twitter_graph simple ruby bin/twitter_graph complex

Run the tests

Uses Rspec, to run the suite: bundle install && rake Tested with Ruby 1.9.3p0

Read the code

It's not really necessary to read over the TwitterParser or UserCollection class unless you plan on implementing your own Parser. A good starting point would be the SocialGraph class, to understand how it uses the other classes to solve the problem. The included module, GraphUtilityMethods might be a good second stop, to see what's going on behind the scenes of the fairly high level methods in SocialGraph. From there, you will want to look at EdgeSet, which does a lot of the heavy lifting.

Extensive documentation has been provided inline, roughly according to the TomDoc specification - If the code looks incredibly long it might be because of the documentation, or it might actually be long.

Extend it

Write your own parser that populates a UserCollection instance with users and their mentions, then pass that in to a new SocialGraph.

What it does (down at the bottom because evaluators already know!)

Problem Description

SocialGraph analyzes a set of tweets to determine which users are connected through their mentions and at what order the connection exists.

A connection is determined using the following rules:

First order connection

  • A is mentioned by B, B is mentioned by A
  • => A is first order with B, B is first order with A *note: if A mentions B and B does not mention A, there is no direct relationship

nth order connection

  • A is n-1th order with B
  • B is first order with C
  • A has no connection higher than n-1th order with C
  • => A has a nth order connection with C

By default, SocialGraph determines up to the 6th order connection, but you can pass in the desired depth as an Integer in the last parameter to a new SocialGraph instance


puzzlenode #14 and my attempt at ruby mendicant university entrance exam for january 2012



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