A Quick Computer Skills Aptitude Test

=== by Bob Sutherland ===

Computers can work quickly and flawlessly but sometimes they make errors. Often the errors are repetitive errors that will create a pattern. When a computer is doing things correctly it may also create some patterns.

People who use computers must learn how to recognize the patterns that computers create. We cannot read, calculate and think fast enough to check everything a computer does so we must rely on our ability to spot patterns to know when a computer is behaving or misbehaving.

The Questions

The following chart of the Powers of 2 is created by a small JavaScript program contained within this web page. The program does the necessary calculations to display each line one at a time before moving on to the next line where it again does some calculations and displays the line. This process is repeated over and over again. It probably happens so quickly on your fast computer that you just see the final chart for the Powers of 2 on your computer screen rather than watching one line at a time being added to the display after each set of calculations is completed.

How many patterns can you find in the numbers displayed by the JavaScript program?

There may be many patterns in the numbers but there are three patterns that you need to find and pay attention to. The first pattern starts at the top and continues down for quite a few lines. It is the correct answers when the JavaScript program is doing exactly what it was intended to do. The second pattern starts on a line where the JavaScript program changes its behaviour. The third pattern starts farther down the screen on a different line where again the JavaScript program changes its behaviour.

Can you explain why the JavaScript program changes its behaviour to create the second and third patterns?

Are the second and third patterns an indication that the computer is making an error or is something else happening?

Wish you luck finding the three patterns.

Powers of 2

Here is a link to the answer page describing the three patterns.