Problem

This problem was asked by Facebook.

Given the mapping a = 1, b = 2, … z = 26, and an encoded message, count the number of ways it can be decoded.

For example, the message ‘111’ would give 3, since it could be decoded as ‘aaa’, ‘ka’, and ‘ak’.

You can assume that the messages are decodable. For example, ‘001’ is not allowed.

Solution

Firstly, let’s take care of a mapping. So if a = 1, then charCode = code(char) - code('a') + 1, it’s is possible, because in ASCII table letters of Latin alphabet are located one by one. In the example, I use function f(string) that returns 1 if a string can be decoded, otherwise 0.

Most of the string parsing problems are recursion based. To start with such a solution, it’s always helpful to manually solve some trivial cases, trying to use the results of a previous case:

If the length of a string is 1, there is always 1 way to decode it, so it’s our base case.

'1':
    ['1']

----------
F('1') = 1

If the length is 2, we always have 1 way with all digits separately, plus one if a number is less than 26, we also use this one as a base case.

'12':
    ['1', '2']
    ['12']
---------------------
F('12') = f('12') + 1

If the length is 3, we can use the results of previous calculations, because we already know how to deal with shorter strings.

F('123') = f('1') * F('23') + F('12') * f('3') = 3

All next cases can be calculated using previously defined:

F('4123') = f('4') * F('123') + f('41') * F('23') = 3

Code

func solution(s string) int {
        l := len(s)
        switch {
        case l == 1:
                return 1
        case l == 2:
                return canDecode(s) + 1
        default:
                return canDecode(s[:1])*solution(s[1:]) +
                        canDecode(s[:2])*solution(s[2:])
        }
}

// returns 1 if possible to decode string.
func canDecode(s string) int {
        i, err := strconv.ParseInt(s, 10, 64)
        if err != nil {
                return 0
        }
        if i >= 0 && i <= 26 {
                return 1
        }
        return 0
}

Links

github