Woodstock Blog

a tech blog for general algorithmic interview questions

[Google] Traveller Path Problem



Traveler wants to travel from city “A” to city “D”. There is a path from city “A” to city “D”. Path consists of steps, i.e. travel from city “A” to city “B”. Path is encoded as sequence of steps.

Sequence is in incorrect order. Your task is to restore order of steps in the path.

Input (unordered sequence):

C -> D 
A -> B 
B -> C 

Output (Correctly ordered list which represents path):

A, B, C, D 

Implement following API:

class Step {
    String start;
    String finish;

class Node {
    String value;
    Node next;

List<String> findPath(List<Step> steps) {


This question is not stated clear enough. I found one tentative algorithm:

First, initialize a result - sortedPath, and build 2 maps (String to String) - startsToFinishes and finishesToStarts (O(N))

Then, find the one key on startsToFinishes, that is not a key in finishesToStarts - this is the city from which the path begins. (O(N))

Then, iteratively, city by city, build the path.

Follow up on Sep 2nd, 2014:

This post talks about this question. The answer would be similar to what’s writtne above.