I had a difficult assignment in my Data Structures and Algorithms class.

We need to implement a program that computes a function f(n) based on the following known values of n and f(n):

n : 9689 9941 11213 19937 21701 23209 44497 86243 110503 132049

f(n) : 3 5 7 13 17 19 23 37 47 59

n : 216091 756839 859433 1257787 1398269 2976221 3021377

f(n) : 61 67 71 79 89 101 103

The requirements of the assignment are as follows:

  1. We are allowed to use a pre-initialized array with 17 numbers.
  2. We can use one XOR operation and one MOD operation.
  3. We can access the array in a read-only manner.
  4. The program should not crash if an input n is not listed. The output can be arbitrary in such cases.

Another requirement may be to minimize operations and memory usage.

The first thing I want to know is what knowledge I should apply to this problem. I have currently written a program that stores f(n) in an array and when we enter n, takes the remainder of each input n and each number in the array. I printed out the results to try to be able to get some insight. But I wasn't. My other thought is that maybe this question has something to do with hashing, but I don't have a clue. My biggest doubt is how should we use XOR in the question.

I am open to suggestions and alternative approaches. Thank you in advance!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Does or doesn't a pre-initialized array with 17 numbers mean an array of size 17? The task may be simpler with a 23-element array, trivial with a 3020100 element one. $\endgroup$
    – greybeard
    Commented May 20 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ In the task is what I wrote above. My understanding is that it can be thought of as an Array of size 17 $\endgroup$
    – Shiyao Ju
    Commented May 20 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ If you look at the seventeen function values provided, they all share a particular mathematical property. Coincidence? I think not. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Commented May 21 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


As we want to use both operations, we only have two possible combinations: $$\left(n \oplus x\right) \mod s\tag{1}\label{1}$$ $$\left(n \mod x\right) \oplus s\tag{2}$$

If we store $f\left(n\right)$ in an array $a$ of length $17$, we want our index $i$ to lie within the interval $\left[0,16\right]$. We can achieve this by choosing $\eqref{1}$ with $s = 17$.

Now we need to find $x \;\forall\; n : a\left[\left(n\oplus x\right) \mod 17\right]=f\left(n\right)$

Considering that we can store our elements $f\left(n\right)$ in $a$ in any order, this problem can be brute forced quite easily.


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