A switch, like a computer, is run by a clock with discrete steps â the packets are send out at discrete intervals, rather than continuously.

Should that be *sent* out? I point this out because I really do believe this is a wonderful article, and I value the content. Beautiful things can sometimes be made better with the help of our friends. ;)]]>

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which seems like another problem.]]>

"In fact, there are quite a few important problems for which the best-known algorithm that produces an optimal answer is insufficiently slow for most purposes. The most famous group of these problems is called NP, which stands for non-deterministic polynomial (don't worry about what that means). When a problem is said to be NP-complete or NP-hard, it mean no one knows a good way to solve them optimally. Furthermore, if someone did figure out an efficient algorithm for one NP-complete problem, that algorithm would be applicable to all NP-complete problems. "

I would still suggest rewriting that last sentence as:

"Furthermore, if someone did figure out an efficient algorithm for one NP-hard problem, that algorithm would be applicable to all NP problems."

That is by the definition of NP-hard. It may also be worth mentioning that NP-complete problems are simply problems which are both in NP, and NP-hard. There may be some confusion, as an NP-hard problem is not necessarily in NP (hence why an efficient solution to one NP-hard problem does not mean an efficient solution exists for another).

Finally, there are problems known to be in NP, but not yet proven to be either in P or NP-hard - thus no one knows an efficient solution to these either, despite not being NP-Complete or NP-hard. But working that into the tutorial would require also mentioning P, the subset of NP for which efficient solutions exist, and I understand it was only meant to be a simple overview.]]>

Thanks.]]>

An example for a sentence that cause a What?! moment:

If you had to sort a billion things, this algorithm would take around 1018 operations.

After the initial what?! I figured it's 10 to the power of 18, but I would imagine someone reading an introductory article may not have a deep preliminary understanding and these "hidden puzzles" may actually deter them from going deeper into the rabbit hole.]]>