Maximum Running Time of N Computers
Identifying Problem Isomorphism
Maximum Running Time of N Computers can be mapped to the isomorphic problem: Maximum Flow Problem
They are isomorphic because they both involve finding the maximum amount of time that a system can run by transferring resources between different components. In the Maximum Running Time of N Computers problem, the resources are the batteries, and the components are the computers. In the Maximum Flow Problem, the resources are the units of flow, and the components are the nodes in a network.
They are also similar in terms of their solution. Both problems can be solved using dynamic programming or a greedy algorithm. In the Maximum Running Time of N Computers problem, the dynamic programming solution involves creating a table that stores the maximum running time for all possible combinations of batteries and computers. The greedy algorithm solution involves repeatedly transferring the battery with the most remaining running time to the computer that needs it the most.
The Maximum Flow Problem is a more general problem than the Maximum Running Time of N Computers problem. This is because the Maximum Flow Problem can be used to model a wider variety of realworld scenarios. For example, the Maximum Flow Problem can be used to model the flow of traffic through a network, the flow of water through a pipe, or the flow of electricity through a circuit.
Maximum Flow Problem is more complex than the Maximum Running Time of N Computers problem. This is because the Maximum Flow Problem involves more variables and constraints. However, the two problems are similar in terms of their overall difficulty.
Here is a table that summarizes the isomorphism between the two problems:
Problem  Resources  Components  Solution 

Maximum Running Time of N Computers  Batteries  Computers  Dynamic programming or greedy algorithm 
Maximum Flow Problem  Units of flow  Nodes in a network  Dynamic programming or greedy algorithm 
10 Prerequisite LeetCode Problems
The problem deals with greedy algorithms and sorting. Problems to build up your understanding with these topics:
435. Nonoverlapping Intervals: In this problem, you are given a collection of intervals, and you need to find the minimum number of intervals you need to remove to make the rest of the intervals nonoverlapping.
452. Minimum Number of Arrows to Burst Balloons: This problem also asks you to apply a greedy approach to minimize the number of actions needed.
406. Queue Reconstruction by Height: This problem requires cleverly sorting the input and then placing elements in the correct positions.
392. Is Subsequence: This problem tests your ability to understand and work with subsequence relationships.
621. Task Scheduler: This problem requires a careful analysis of task frequencies, which then guides a greedy approach to scheduling tasks.
767. Reorganize String: This problem asks for a reordering of a string in a way that no two similar characters are next to each other. It requires careful analysis and a greedy approach.
763. Partition Labels: A problem requiring the partitioning of a sequence in a specific way, guided by a greedy approach.
121. Best Time to Buy and Sell Stock: This problem requires finding the optimal time to buy and sell stocks, essentially finding a maximum difference in an array.
122. Best Time to Buy and Sell Stock II: An extension of the previous problem, but now multiple transactions are allowed.
253. Meeting Rooms II: This problem is about scheduling and involves finding the minimum number of rooms required to hold all meetings.
These cover greedy algorithms and sorting methods. They will also help you recognize when such approaches are applicable.
Clarification Questions
Here are a few clarification questions we can ask for a better understanding of the problem:
 Is the order of the batteries in the input array significant?
 What should the function return if the ‘batteries’ array is empty?
 Can the batteries be swapped between the computers in any order at any time?
 What should the function return if the number of computers is more than the number of batteries?
 How should the function handle zero or negative values in the ‘batteries’ array, even though they’re not in the expected input range?
 When we say “remove a battery from a computer and insert another battery any number of times”, is there a limit on the number of swaps we can perform?
Not all of these questions might be necessary given the constraints and explanation in the problem statement, but these are the types of clarification questions to make sure you fully understand a problem.
Problem Analysis and Key Insights
Here are the key insights from analyzing the problem:
Number of Batteries: The first key observation from the problem statement is that the number of batteries is not necessarily equal to the number of computers. It can be more than, less than, or equal to the number of computers.
Battery Swapping: You can swap out batteries in the computers at any point, and the swapping process doesn’t cost any time. This is a crucial point, as it allows for dynamic allocation of batteries to computers based on their remaining power.
Limited Battery Life: Each battery can only be used once and cannot be recharged. This means you need to be strategic about when and where to use each battery.
Goal: The main goal is to keep all computers running simultaneously for as long as possible. You’re not trying to maximize the running time of any individual computer but the collective running time.
No Simultaneous Battery Use: A single battery can’t be used in multiple computers at the same time, which means careful distribution is necessary.
Different Battery Capacities: Batteries can have different capacities, which will require a strategy for deciding which batteries to use first and where.
Based on these insights, you can see that the key to solving the problem will likely involve effectively managing the resources (batteries) based on their capacities and the requirement to keep all computers running simultaneously.
Problem Boundary
The scope of this problem involves resource allocation and management, more specifically how to optimally use available batteries to maximize the total running time of all computers. Here are a few specific aspects within this scope:
Understanding the Problem: First and foremost, you need to understand the problem constraints  you can insert one battery into each computer initially, and replace batteries at any integer time moment, but you can’t recharge batteries or use them in more than one computer simultaneously.
Strategy for Battery Allocation: You need to develop a strategy for allocating batteries to the computers. This might involve deciding which batteries to use first based on their capacities, and when to swap out a battery based on the remaining running time of the other computers.
Implementing the Strategy: After developing the strategy, you need to implement it in code. This will likely involve looping over the batteries and computers, and making decisions based on the current state of the system.
Testing: Finally, you should test your implementation with various inputs to ensure it works as expected and successfully maximizes the total running time of all computers.
The problem does not involve any aspects outside of these, such as recharging batteries, dealing with computer downtime, or handling more complex batterycomputer configurations.
The boundary of a problem defines the limits within which the problem must be solved. For this problem, these limits can be established through the constraints and requirements stated in the problem description. Let’s outline these boundaries:
Number of Computers and Batteries: You have ’n’ computers and a number of batteries provided in an array. The boundaries here are that ’n’ is greater than or equal to 1 and less than or equal to the length of the batteries array, which is at most 10^5.
Battery Capacities: Each battery can run a computer for a certain number of minutes, as defined in the batteries array. Each battery’s capacity is between 1 and 10^9 minutes, inclusive.
Battery Allocation Rules: Initially, each computer can have at most one battery, and batteries can be swapped at any integer time moment. Batteries cannot be recharged, and the swapping process takes no time.
Goal of the Problem: The goal is to maximize the total running time of all computers. The solution should return this maximum time.
These constraints clearly establish the problem’s boundaries. Solutions that attempt to recharge batteries, use a battery in more than one computer at the same time, or involve computers without batteries fall outside these boundaries and should be considered invalid.
Problem Classification
The problem can be classified under the “Resource Allocation and Scheduling” domain, as it involves effectively allocating and scheduling limited resources (batteries) to achieve an objective (maximize runtime of computers).
Components:
 Resource  Batteries with certain lifetimes represented as an integer array.
 Resource Consumers  Computers, with the requirement that they all need to run simultaneously.
 Objective  Maximizing the total runtime of all computers running simultaneously.
This problem falls under the “Greedy Algorithms” classification. The reason being, we are looking for an optimal way to allocate resources to maximize an objective. Often these problems are solved by making the locally optimal choice at each step with the hope that these local solutions will lead to a global solution.
To clarify, making a greedy choice means making the choice that seems to be the best at that moment, without worrying about the consequences of that decision for the future steps. This problem is a classic case where a greedy algorithm could potentially provide an efficient solution  by always choosing the highest capacity battery available.
Distilling the Problem to Its Core Elements
This problem is fundamentally about maximizing resource utilization. The resources in question here are the batteries and their lifetimes (capacity).
In simpler terms, imagine you have a number of flashlights (computers) and batteries. Each flashlight can only hold one battery at a time, and each battery can only power a flashlight for a certain amount of time. You can switch out a battery in a flashlight as often as you like, but once a battery has run out, it can’t be used again. Your aim is to find the maximum time you can keep all the flashlights on at the same time.
The core problem we are trying to solve is to maximize the simultaneous operation time of all computers given a limited number of batteries with varied lifetimes.
The key components of the problem are:
 The number of computers (n) that need to be operated simultaneously.
 The array of batteries, where each battery has a certain lifetime.
 The ability to switch batteries between computers at any time.
The minimal set of operations to solve the problem are:
 Insert batteries into computers initially.
 Operate the computers until one or more batteries are drained.
 Replace the drained battery with a new one from the remaining pool.
 Repeat steps 2 and 3 until there are no more batteries left in the pool.
The challenge is to find an optimal strategy to perform these operations to maximize the total operating time.
Visual Model of the Problem
Visualizing this problem might involve considering batteries and computers as separate entities and understanding how they interact with each other.
Imagine you have n
computers sitting in a row. Each computer needs a battery to function, but the batteries each have different capacities. To help illustrate, you might draw these batteries as vertical bars with heights corresponding to their capacities.
At any given time, a computer uses up battery power, reducing the height of the bar. When a battery gets completely used up (its bar height becomes zero), you can remove it and replace it with a new battery.
You can also visualize the total power available as the sum of the heights of all the battery bars. This total power needs to be distributed among the computers to keep them running as long as possible.
Visualizing this problem in this way might help you understand the need to balance the power distribution across computers and to continually adjust this distribution by swapping out batteries as they deplete.
A graph would be an effective way to visualize this problem.
On the xaxis, you could represent each battery as an individual point. The yaxis would then represent the battery capacity (or power).
At the beginning, you can plot all the batteries with their initial capacities. As time passes and batteries get depleted, you can keep updating the plot to show the decreasing power of each battery.
The average capacity line can be added to the plot. It will represent the “fair” distribution of total power among all computers.
When a battery capacity falls below this line, it means that this battery cannot support a fair share of power for a computer. If a battery capacity is above this line, it can be used to replace a depleted battery and continue powering the computers.
Remember, the goal is to keep all computers running for as long as possible, which is equivalent to keeping the battery capacities above zero for as long as possible.
Here is a simple illustration:
10 * (battery 3)
9 
8 * (battery 2)
7 
6 
5 * (battery 1, average line)
4 
3 * (battery 0)
2 
1 
0 _________________________
0 1 2 3 4
(battery indices)
In this diagram, ‘’ represents each battery. The horizontal line shows the average battery capacity, which represents the fair share of power for each computer. As time progresses, these ‘’ would move downwards representing the draining of battery power. When any battery’s power falls below the average line, it’s replaced by another battery with a capacity above the average line.
Problem Restatement
We have a total of ’n’ computers that need to be operated, each of which requires a battery. The batteries are distinct and can’t be recharged; once the charge of a battery is used, it’s gone. Each battery has a different level of charge, indicated by an integer, which represents the number of minutes it can power a computer.
Now, we can only place one battery in a computer at a time. But the good news is, we can swap batteries between computers any time, and this swapping takes no time at all.
The challenge is to find the maximum number of minutes we can keep all ’n’ computers running simultaneously. The ‘simultaneously’ part is essential here because a computer without a battery (even during a swap) is considered not running.
Remember, a battery can be partially used, removed, and then used again later. However, once a battery is completely drained, it cannot be used anymore. We need to find a strategy to allocate and swap the batteries to maximize the running time of all computers at the same time.
Abstract Representation of the Problem
Given a set of finite resources (batteries) with differing capacities (battery charge), we want to distribute these resources among a number of identical receivers (computers), each of which can hold at most one resource at a time but can switch between resources without delay.
The receivers operate concurrently, and the goal is to maximize the total operation time where all receivers are working simultaneously. A receiver can only work if it holds a resource, and once a resource is used up, it can’t be reused. If a resource is partially used, the remaining capacity can be used later.
The problem asks to determine the maximum simultaneous operation time of all receivers, given the constraints of resource usage.
The critical insight to solve this problem is that using a resource with more capacity isn’t always beneficial to maximize the overall operation time if its usage would disproportionately reduce the average operation time of all receivers. We must apply an iterative selection process, discarding the resource with the highest capacity until the highest capacity is not greater than the average capacity per receiver.
This problem is a resource allocation problem with constraints on the quantity, capacity of resources, and the maximum simultaneous operation time of all receivers. It involves concepts from combinatorics, algorithm design (particularly greedy algorithms), and elementary statistics (averaging).
Terminology
Greedy Algorithm: A greedy algorithm is an algorithmic paradigm that follows the problemsolving heuristic of making the locally optimal choice at each stage with the hope of finding a global optimum. In this problem, we take a greedy approach by always choosing the battery with the most remaining power to keep the computers running.
Sorting: Sorting refers to arranging data in a particular format or order, and it’s mostcommonly done in numerical or a form that can be expressed as numeric. Here, we sort the batteries by their power levels to facilitate the process of picking the highestpowered battery.
Average: In mathematics, the average is the sum of all values divided by the number of values. It’s used here to determine the “fair share” of power that each computer should ideally receive from the batteries.
Prefix Sum: A prefix sum is a technique used in algorithms design, especially in the field of data structure. The prefix sum of a sequence of numbers is a second sequence of numbers, the ith element of which is the sum of the first i elements from the original sequence. In this problem, we don’t use prefix sum explicitly, but the concept of summing up elements in a sequence (total battery power) is relevant.
List (Python): A list in Python is a collection of items that can contain elements of multiple data types and are ordered and changeable. In this problem, a list is used to store the power levels of all batteries.
Heap: A heap is a complete binary tree that satisfies the heap property. It is also called the Priority queue. Although we did not use it in this problem, a maxheap could be an alternative way to keep track of the battery with the most power.
Problem Simplification and Explanation
Imagine you’re the manager of a bakery with a certain number of ovens (n), and you have a batch of variously sized loaves of bread to bake. Each loaf takes a different amount of time to bake completely (batteries). You can only bake one loaf in one oven at a time.
At the start, you can put one loaf in each oven. As time goes by, some loaves finish baking (the oven becomes available), while others still need more time. When a loaf is finished, you can take it out and immediately replace it with another loaf, assuming you have one left.
The goal is to have all the ovens continuously baking bread for as long as possible. You have to decide the sequence in which to bake the loaves, when to replace a partially baked loaf with a new one, and so forth.
Now, break it down:
 Ovens are the computers.
 The loaves of bread are the batteries.
 The time it takes to bake a loaf is the power level of a battery.
 You want to maximize the amount of time all ovens are simultaneously baking  i.e., all computers are running.
 Like the bread baking, once a battery is used up, you can’t reuse it.
In this problem, the key concepts are:
Sorting: Sorting the batteries by their power levels helps identify which batteries to use first.
Greedy Algorithm: The principle that you always want to use the battery with the highest power level available is the hallmark of a greedy approach.
Average: Comparing the largest battery power with the average power per computer is a critical decision point in this problem. If the most potent battery can provide more power than the average, it’s better to save it for later and distribute the remaining battery power equally among the computers.
So, in simpler terms, this problem is about making strategic decisions (based on the greedy algorithm and the concept of average) about how to distribute a resource (battery power) among several entities (computers) to maximize the duration of a process (running the computers).
Constraints
In this problem, there are indeed several characteristics that can be exploited:
Limited Resources: The fact that the batteries cannot be recharged means that we have a fixed set of resources to work with. This condition allows us to treat the problem as an optimization problem, where we try to get the most out of our available resources.
Batteries Are Transferrable: The problem allows us to transfer batteries from one computer to another. This condition opens up the possibility for efficient resource distribution strategies, which can extend the overall running time.
Variation in Battery Power: Batteries do not all have the same power. This variation means that some batteries are more valuable than others, and it makes sense to use the more potent batteries later to maximize the total running time.
Numerical Range of Battery Power: Each battery can run a computer for a duration of 1 to 1e9 minutes. This broad range means there can be significant differences between battery powers. Sorting batteries based on their power helps in deciding which batteries to use first.
Array Length and n: The number of batteries is equal to or more than the number of computers. This condition ensures that at least one battery per computer is available initially.
Patterns that can be useful in manipulating or interpreting the data:
Sorting: Sorting the batteries based on their power can be useful in deciding which batteries to use first.
Average Power Per Computer: Comparing the maximum battery power with the average power per computer gives a crucial decision point for whether to use the most potent battery right away or save it for later.
By identifying and leveraging these characteristics, we can devise an efficient solution to the problem.
Analyzing the constraints gives us the following key insights:
Battery Limits: Since batteries cannot be recharged, the total time for which all computers can run is fixed and equal to the sum of all battery powers. This tells us that we cannot simply aim for the maximum battery power for each computer, but we have to distribute the battery power smartly across all computers to maximize the simultaneous running time.
Transferability of Batteries: The fact that we can transfer batteries from one computer to another at any point in time allows us to adjust our battery distribution strategy on the go. This could potentially help us optimize the use of batteries with higher power.
Number of Batteries: The fact that the number of batteries is equal to or more than the number of computers ensures that we always have at least one battery per computer. Therefore, initially assigning one battery to each computer is a feasible starting strategy.
Size of Battery Power: Each battery power ranges from 1 to 1e9 minutes, a significantly broad range. This implies that the difference in power between batteries can be vast, hence choosing the correct battery at the correct time is crucial for maximizing the total running time.
Number of Computers and Batteries: The range of n and the length of the battery array (1 to 1e5) tells us that the solution needs to be efficient and cannot rely on methods that would be too computationally expensive, like brute force.
These insights gained from the constraints guide the direction of our approach and the implementation of our solution.
Case Analysis
Here are several additional examples or test cases that cover a wider range of the input space, including edge and boundary conditions:
Minimum Limit Case Input: n = 1, batteries = [1] Output: 1 Explanation: In this case, there’s only one computer and one battery with the minimum allowed power. Therefore, the computer can run for exactly one minute.
Maximum Limit Case Input: n = 1, batteries = [10^9] Output: 10^9 Explanation: Again, there’s only one computer, but this time, the battery has the maximum allowed power. The computer can run for exactly 10^9 minutes.
Equal Power Case Input: n = 2, batteries = [3,3] Output: 3 Explanation: In this case, we have two computers and two batteries, both with the same power. Since the power is equally distributed, both computers can run for 3 minutes simultaneously.
Unequal Power Case Input: n = 2, batteries = [2,3] Output: 2.5 Explanation: Here, we have two computers but the batteries have unequal power. Initially, we can assign the higher power battery to one computer and the lower power battery to another. When the lower power battery runs out, we replace the higher power battery (which still has 1 minute of power left) in the first computer. Hence, each computer gets to run for 2.5 minutes in total.
Excess Batteries Case Input: n = 2, batteries = [2,2,2] Output: 3 Explanation: Here, we have more batteries than computers. We can initially distribute the first two batteries to two computers. After 2 minutes, one battery runs out. We can then replace this with the remaining battery, allowing the computers to run for an additional minute. Therefore, the total time is 3 minutes.
Unequal Power with Excess Batteries Case Input: n = 2, batteries = [2,3,3] Output: 4 Explanation: In this case, we have two computers, and three batteries with unequal power. We can initially distribute the higher power batteries. After 2 minutes, we replace one of the batteries with the remaining battery, allowing the computers to run for an additional 2 minutes. Therefore, the total time is 4 minutes.
These additional examples should provide a comprehensive overview of the different scenarios that could arise in this problem, thus helping ensure that the final solution is robust and handles all possible scenarios.
After analyzing the different cases, we can derive several key insights:
Unequal Battery Power: When battery powers are unequal, the optimal strategy involves using the higher powered batteries first and replacing them as needed with the remaining batteries.
Excess Batteries: When there are more batteries than computers, we can use the extra batteries to replace depleted ones and extend the total running time of all computers.
Average Power Matters: The maximum simultaneous running time does not simply depend on the total battery power available, but rather on the average power of the highest ’n’ batteries.
Greedy Strategy: A greedy strategy of always choosing the highest power battery available often leads to an optimal solution. However, we must remember to adjust the average whenever we remove a battery from consideration.
Edge Cases: Even in edge cases with the minimum or maximum constraints, the same strategies and insights apply.
These insights are essential to understanding the problem’s nuances and constructing an effective solution.
Identification of Applicable Theoretical Concepts
There are several mathematical and algorithmic concepts at play in this problem that can be used to simplify it and make it more manageable:
Sorting: Sorting the array of batteries helps us easily pick the highest power batteries and maintain them in a sorted order. It’s a fundamental concept that simplifies many problems involving selection or arrangement of elements.
Greedy Algorithms: The principle of making the locally optimal choice at each step in the hope that these local choices will lead to a global optimum is used here. In this case, we always select the battery with the highest power to maximize the total runtime.
Binary Search: This problem doesn’t explicitly require binary search, but the idea of narrowing down the range of consideration (reducing ’n’ and popping off the largest battery when average drops below it) shares similarities with the concept of binary search, which helps us find a solution more efficiently.
Averages and Sums: The mathematical concepts of averages and sums play a key role in this problem. The sum of the battery powers is used to calculate the average power for ’n’ batteries, which determines the maximum simultaneous running time.
Dynamic Programming: While not directly used in the optimal solution, the initial thought process could involve dynamic programming concepts. The idea of breaking down a larger problem into smaller subproblems (considering different combinations of batteries for different computers) is reminiscent of dynamic programming. However, in this case, a greedy approach is more efficient.
Priority Queue (Heap): If the input is large and cannot be sorted efficiently, or if the battery power changes dynamically, a max heap or priority queue can be used to always get and remove the highest power battery in an efficient manner. This concept is related but not directly used in the current problem.
Each of these concepts can be applied to make the problem more manageable and approach the solution more effectively. They help in forming an efficient algorithm to solve the problem.
Simple Explanation
Suppose you are having a sleepover party with your friends and you have a number of flashlights to use when you tell ghost stories. But these flashlights are of different sizes, meaning they contain different amounts of battery power. Some flashlights can last longer, some shorter.
Now, you want everyone to have a flashlight, and you want all the flashlights to last for the same amount of time. So, everyone can finish their ghost stories at the same time and no one will be left in the dark.
The problem is to figure out the maximum time for which all flashlights can be kept on. To do this, you sort the flashlights based on their battery power. You start distributing the flashlights from the one with the most battery power. If the one with the most power has too much power compared to the average power of all the remaining flashlights, you decide to keep that one for yourself and recalculate the maximum time based on the remaining flashlights. You repeat this process until you find the maximum time for which all the flashlights can stay on.
This is similar to our problem where instead of flashlights, we have computers and batteries with different power capacities. We want all computers to run for the longest possible time before any of them shuts down.
Problem Breakdown and Solution Methodology
Let’s walk through the steps for solving this problem using an analogy for a better understanding.
Sorting: Think of the batteries as a group of runners participating in a marathon. Each runner has a different endurance level (battery power). Before we start the race (power the computers), we want to sort these runners by their endurance. This is equivalent to sorting the batteries in ascending order of their capacity.
Calculation of average endurance: Next, we want to calculate the average endurance of our runners. This gives us a baseline of how long we can expect the entire group to run before the first runner gives up (a computer’s battery dies). We do this by summing up all the endurance levels (battery power) and dividing by the number of runners (number of computers, ’n’).
Adjustment based on the strongest runner: Now, we look at the runner with the highest endurance (the last battery in our sorted list). If this runner’s endurance is higher than the average endurance, it means that this runner can run a lot longer than the rest of the group. In that case, we can think of letting this runner run alone and distribute the rest of the runners evenly. In our problem, we’ll do the same. If the battery with the highest power has more power than the average, we pop this battery from our list, decrement the number of computers (’n’), and recalculate the average.
Iteration: We repeat the step 3 until the runner with the highest endurance has an endurance equal to or less than the average endurance. This will be our maximum runtime for all computers, as at this point every runner (battery) will last for the same amount of time.
Let’s demonstrate this with an example:
We have 3 computers, and the batteries we have are [10,10,3,5].
First, we sort the batteries, which gives us [3,5,10,10].
Next, we calculate the average, which is (3+5+10+10)/3 = 9.33.
Now, we look at the strongest battery. It has a power of 10, which is higher than our average. So, we pop this battery from our list and decrement the number of computers. The new average becomes (3+5+10)/2 = 9.
We check the strongest battery again, it is still higher than the average. So we pop the battery again and decrement the number of computers. The new average becomes (3+5)/1 = 8.
Now the strongest battery (5) is less than the average (8), so we stop here.
The maximum running time for the computers is 8.
If we change the parameters of the problem, for example, increase the number of computers or change the power of batteries, we would need to readjust the distribution of batteries to computers using the same steps.
Inference of ProblemSolving Approach from the Problem Statement
Here are the key terms or concepts in this problem and how they help guide the approach:
Maximize Running Time: This is the primary goal of the problem. We need to optimize the way we allocate batteries to computers so that the computer with the lowest battery life (i.e., the first one to run out of power) lasts as long as possible.
Equal Distribution: The problem states that the battery power should be equally distributed among all computers. This implies that the same amount of power should be allocated to every computer to maximize the running time.
Batteries: The array of batteries represents different amounts of power that can be assigned to computers. Sorting this array helps in identifying the batteries with the most and least power. It guides us towards a greedy approach where we continually compare the highest power battery with the average.
N (Number of Computers): The number of computers to be powered guides the calculation of the average power and the iterative process. When a battery is found that has more power than the average, the number of computers to be powered is reduced, implying that the high power battery can be assigned to a computer on its own.
Sort: Sorting is an operation that arranges data in a specific order (ascending or descending). In this problem, sorting the batteries helps us identify the one with the most power easily and allows us to use a greedy approach to solve the problem.
Greedy Approach: This problem is solved using a greedy algorithm, which makes the locally optimal choice at each stage with the hope of finding the global optimum. In this case, the greedy approach involves assigning the battery with the highest power to a computer on its own if its power is more than the average power that can be assigned to each computer. This is done in the hope that it will lead to a configuration where the running time is maximized.
By recognizing and understanding these key concepts, we can apply the right strategies and algorithms to solve the problem efficiently.
The inference of using a greedy approach comes from the specific goal and constraints of the problem.
The goal of the problem is to maximize the runtime of the computer that runs out of battery first. This implies that we need to balance the battery power assigned to each computer as evenly as possible, as the running time will be dictated by the computer that runs out of power first.
To achieve this, we could assign the largest battery to one computer and then divide the remaining battery power among the other computers. This strategy ensures that the computer with the largest battery runs for a longer time, which may increase the overall runtime.
However, if the largest battery can provide more power to a single computer than the average power that can be distributed to the remaining computers, it’s better to use that battery for a single computer. Then, we can recalculate the average and repeat this process.
This approach is essentially a greedy strategy, as we make a decision at each step (i.e., whether to use the largest battery for a single computer or not) that seems to be the best at that moment, aiming to achieve an optimal overall outcome.
Hence, from the nature of the problem and its constraints, we infer that a greedy approach might be suitable to solve this problem.
Simple Explanation of the Proof
Let’s break down the proof in a more digestible format:
Problem Formulation: The problem is about maximizing the runtime of the computer that runs out of battery first among N computers. The way we can achieve this is by evenly distributing the battery charge among the computers. But, the catch here is that each computer can use only one battery.
Greedy Choice: Given the problem, our greedy choice is to assign the highest charge battery to one computer, if the battery charge is more than the average charge that can be distributed to the remaining computers. If not, then we keep that battery in the pool and recalculate the average. We repeat this process until we’re out of batteries.
Proof: Now, why does this greedy choice lead to an optimal solution? Let’s consider the following:
 Let’s assume that the greedy algorithm doesn’t lead to an optimal solution and there exists some other distribution of batteries that results in a higher minimum runtime.
 Now, consider the battery with the maximum charge in this optimal distribution. Let’s call it ‘B_max’.
 According to our greedy algorithm, ‘B_max’ should have been assigned to one computer if its charge was more than the average charge that can be distributed to the remaining computers, else it should be part of the pool that gets distributed among multiple computers.
 If ‘B_max’ is part of the distribution among multiple computers in the optimal solution, it means that its charge is less than or equal to the average charge calculated in the greedy algorithm. So, the greedy algorithm would also distribute ‘B_max’ among multiple computers.
 If ‘B_max’ is assigned to a single computer in the optimal solution, it means that its charge is more than the average charge that could be distributed among remaining computers. According to the greedy algorithm, ‘B_max’ should be assigned to one computer if its charge is more than the average. Thus, in both scenarios, the choice made by the greedy algorithm aligns with the optimal solution.
This implies that the greedy algorithm’s solution is as good as (if not better than) the supposed optimal solution, proving the optimality of the greedy algorithm.
Note: The principle behind the proof is a method called “Exchange Argument” which is frequently used in the proofs of greedy algorithms. The idea is to show that if there’s a better solution than the greedy one, then we can ’exchange’ the decision made by the greedy algorithm with the one made in the better solution, without making the solution any worse. This leads to a contradiction, hence the greedy solution must be optimal.
Stepwise Refinement
Let’s break down the approach in a more detailed manner:
Sorting the batteries: The first step in our approach is to sort the list of battery charges in ascending order. This is because we want to consider the batteries with the highest charges last in our process, which aligns with our greedy strategy.
Calculating the total charge and initializing computers: We’ll calculate the sum of all battery charges. This total sum represents the total charge that can be distributed among the computers. We’ll also initialize a variable,
computers
, with the value ofn
to keep track of the remaining computers that need a battery.Implementing the greedy choice: This is the core part of the approach. We loop through the sorted list of batteries from the end (highest charge) towards the beginning (lowest charge). For each battery, we check if the charge of this battery is greater than the average charge that can be distributed among the remaining computers (total sum divided by
computers
). If it’s greater, we decrease thecomputers
count by 1, reduce the total sum by the charge of the current battery, and continue to the next battery.If the charge of the current battery is not greater than the average, it means that this battery’s charge is the maximum runtime we can achieve while ensuring that all computers run for the same amount of time. At this point, we break out of the loop.
Returning the result: Once we’ve gone through all batteries or found our maximum runtime, we return the maximum runtime which is the total sum divided by the remaining number of
computers
. The division here might seem counterintuitive since we’ve been talking about the charge in each battery. But remember, we want to find the maximum runtime such that all computers run out of battery at the same time. This is essentially an average of the remaining charges since we’re distributing them evenly among the remaining computers.
Step 1 can be solved independently as it’s a separate preprocessing step. The rest of the steps are dependent on each other and follow a logical sequence.
Regarding repeatable patterns, the checking of whether a battery’s charge is greater than the current average charge, and updating the total sum and computers
based on this check is a pattern that gets repeated in the loop until we find our maximum runtime or go through all batteries.
Solution Approach and Analysis
Let’s delve into a detailed understanding of our approach to solve this problem. For this, we will use a metaphor of dividing candies among kids.
Sorting the batteries (Dividing candies): Imagine we have a certain number of candies (charge from batteries) that we need to distribute evenly among a number of kids (computers). Each candy could have a different number of sugar crystals (representing the amount of charge). Some candies might have more sugar crystals, others less. Our goal is to give each kid an equal taste of sugar. First, we sort the candies based on the number of sugar crystals, so we know exactly how many sugar crystals each candy contains.
Calculating the total sugar crystals and initializing kids count: We count the total number of sugar crystals from all candies and note the number of kids.
Making the fair choice: Now, we give the candy with the most sugar crystals to a kid and see if this kid gets more sugar than the average share. If so, we keep this candy aside and consider the remaining candies and kids.
If the candy does not contain more sugar than the average share, it means that this is the maximum amount of sugar we can give to each kid so that every kid gets an equal share. Here, we stop dividing the candies.
Finding the maximum equal share: Finally, we return the average share of sugar crystals (total sugar crystals divided by remaining kids).
Let’s consider an example:
Suppose we have 3 computers (kids) and batteries (candies) with charges [10,10,3,5] (sugar crystals). After sorting, we get [3,5,10,10].
The total charge (total sugar crystals) is 28.
We start from the last battery (candy) with charge 10. 10 is more than the average share (28/3=9.33). So, we keep this battery aside. The total charge becomes 18, and the number of computers becomes 2.
Next, we consider the battery with charge 10 again. 10 is more than the average share (18/2=9). We keep this aside. Now, the total charge becomes 8, and the number of computers becomes 1.
Then, we consider the battery with charge 5. Now, 5 is not more than the average share (8/1=8). So, this is the maximum runtime each computer can have. Thus, we stop and return the average share as 8.
This approach works because we’re following a greedy strategy. We’re making the locally optimal choice at each step by giving the candy with the most sugar crystals to a kid and checking if it exceeds the average share. This ensures that we always get the maximum equal share of candies for all kids.
Changes in the problem’s parameters, such as the number of computers or battery charges, would just mean we have more kids or different candies. The overall approach would remain the same. However, if we have more batteries than computers, some batteries won’t be used, just like in our candy analogy, some candies won’t be distributed if we have more candies than kids.
Identify Invariant
The invariant in this problem is the “average runtime per computer”. This is calculated as the total charge of all the remaining batteries divided by the number of remaining computers. This invariant guides our decisionmaking process in the greedy approach.
At each step, we check if the battery with the highest charge can provide more runtime than the current average runtime per computer. If it can, we remove it from consideration and recalculate the average runtime per computer. If it cannot, the average runtime per computer becomes the maximum possible runtime per computer, and we stop the process.
The invariant “average runtime per computer” holds the key to the decision at each step and remains consistent across the entire process of the problem.
Identify Loop Invariant
The loop invariant in this problem is that at any given iteration of the loop, the remaining batteries should be such that the maximum charge among them is less than or equal to the average charge per computer.
This means that, at any point in our loop, when we calculate the average by dividing the total charge of the remaining batteries by the number of computers, the largest battery charge should not exceed this average.
The process ensures that by removing the largest charge if it is larger than the average. The loop continues until this invariant holds true. This invariant helps us ensure that we are moving in the right direction towards the optimal solution.
When the loop terminates, the invariant condition gives us the solution, i.e., the maximum runtime of the computers is the average charge per computer.
In this context, both the invariant and the loop invariant refer to the same condition. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they have nuanced differences.
An invariant is a condition that remains unchanged throughout the execution of a program or a specific section of a program.
A loop invariant, as a type of invariant, is a condition that is initially true and remains true after each iteration of a loop. It helps reason about the correctness of the algorithm.
In the case of our problem, we could see the condition, “the maximum charge among the remaining batteries is less than or equal to the average charge per computer” as an invariant of the solution algorithm, which is enforced and checked in every loop iteration. Therefore, it is also a loop invariant.
So, in this particular problem, the invariant and the loop invariant can be considered the same.
Thought Process
Failed to solve the problem even after several iterations. LC discussion solution:


This Python function, maxRunTime
, belongs to a class Solution
. It calculates the maximum possible runtime of a device given the number of battery slots (n
) and a list of battery runtimes (batteries
). The goal is to find the best combination of batteries that maximizes the device’s runtime.
The function operates as follows:
If the number of battery slots equals the number of available batteries, the device’s runtime will be the minimum battery life because the device will stop when the first battery dies.
The list of batteries is sorted in ascending order.
The average battery life is calculated by dividing the sum of all battery runtimes by the number of slots in the device.
While the number of battery slots is more than one and there are batteries available, and if the last battery in the list (the one with the maximum runtime) has a runtime greater than the average, the function executes the following steps:
It finds the index of the first battery with a runtime not less than the average.
It reduces the number of slots by the count of batteries with a runtime greater than the average.
It removes the batteries with a runtime greater than the average from the list.
It recalculates the average runtime with the remaining batteries and slots.
The function finally returns the calculated average, which represents the maximum runtime the device can achieve with the best combination of batteries.
This function uses binary search (via the bisect_left
function) to find the index of the first battery not less than the average, thus optimizing the process of finding and removing batteries with a runtime greater than the average.
from typing import List


This Python function, maxRunTime
, which is a part of the class Solution
, is a more optimized version of the previous function. It calculates the maximum possible runtime of a device given the number of battery slots (n
) and a list of battery runtimes (batteries
).
Here’s how this function works:
The list of batteries is sorted in ascending order.
The total runtime from all batteries is calculated.
The function then enters a loop where it checks if the last battery in the list (which is the battery with the longest runtime due to sorting) has a runtime greater than the average runtime (calculated as total runtime divided by number of slots). If so, it:
Decreases the number of slots by one (since the battery with the longest runtime will not be used)
Subtracts the runtime of the last battery from the total (since it is not being used)
Removes the last battery from the list (using the
pop()
function)
The loop continues until it finds a battery with a runtime that is not greater than the average runtime.
Finally, the function returns the average runtime calculated with the remaining batteries and slots.
This version of the function is more optimized as it only calculates the sum of the battery runtimes once (instead of recalculating in every loop iteration), and it uses the pop()
function to remove the last element from the list (which is more efficient than slicing the list). The function also directly decreases the count of batteries (n
) instead of calculating the length of the remaining list.
The binary search operation is not required in this optimized version, making the function simpler and faster.
The building blocks of this solution can be categorized as follows:
Data Structures: The solution uses a list to store the battery runtimes.
Control Flow: A while loop is used to iterate over the list of batteries under certain conditions.
Arithmetic Operations: The solution uses division and subtraction to calculate the average runtime and update the total runtime and the number of batteries.
Sorting: The list of batteries is sorted in ascending order. This simplifies the search for batteries with a runtime greater than the average.
List Manipulation: The
pop
method is used to remove and return the last battery from the list, which is the one with the highest runtime due to the sorting.
These building blocks come together to form a solution that efficiently calculates the maximum possible runtime of a device given a number of slots and a list of battery runtimes. The solution takes advantage of Python’s builtin functions and operations to simplify the code and improve performance.
The algorithm works correctly because it accurately implements the logic to find the maximum possible runtime for a device given the number of battery slots (n
) and a list of battery runtimes (batteries
).
Here’s the reasoning behind the algorithm:
The algorithm starts by sorting the batteries in ascending order. This is done so the batteries with the longest runtimes are positioned at the end of the list.
The total runtime for all batteries is calculated and used to find the average runtime per battery slot.
The algorithm then enters a loop where it checks if the battery with the longest runtime (the last battery in the list due to sorting) has a runtime greater than the average.
If it does, this means that the battery will die out quicker than the calculated average if used together with the other batteries. Therefore, this battery is removed from the list (and the total runtime) and the number of battery slots is decreased by one.
This process is repeated until all remaining batteries have a runtime less than or equal to the calculated average. This ensures that all selected batteries can operate for a time close to or longer than the average without dying.
The average runtime is then recalculated with the remaining batteries and returned as the result.
The algorithm works correctly because it effectively finds and removes batteries that would reduce the overall runtime of the device. This results in a set of batteries that maximizes the device’s runtime. The use of sorting, the pop
method, and arithmetic operations ensures that this is done efficiently.
The average runtime is crucial because it provides a benchmark against which each battery’s runtime can be compared.
If a battery’s runtime is greater than the average, it means that if this battery is used in combination with the others, it will run out quicker than the average. This would limit the overall runtime of the device to less than the average. Hence, such batteries are excluded to increase the overall runtime of the device.
On the other hand, batteries with runtimes equal to or less than the average can run for at least the average time. Hence, using such batteries will ensure that the device runs for a time close to or longer than the average.
Therefore, the average runtime is used as a cutoff point to select batteries that will maximize the device’s runtime. It is recalculated each time a battery is removed to ensure that the cutoff point is accurate for the remaining batteries.


In these visualizations, each bar represents a battery and its runtime. The red line represents the average runtime.
In the first chart, we start with 6 batteries and 4 slots. The average runtime is calculated as the total runtime divided by the number of slots, which is 26. The batteries with runtimes greater than this average are 30 and 25.
In the second chart, we remove the battery with the longest runtime (30) and recalculate the average with the remaining batteries and slots. Now, we have 5 batteries and 3 slots. The new average is 22. The battery with a runtime greater than this average is 25.
In the third chart, we remove the battery with the longest runtime (25) and recalculate the average again. Now, we have 4 batteries and 2 slots. The new average is 18.5. There are no batteries with a runtime greater than this average.
The final average runtime (18.5) represents the maximum runtime that the device can achieve with the best combination of batteries (20, 12, 10, and 7). None of these batteries will run out before the device has run for 18.5 units of time.
This is how the algorithm ensures that the selected batteries will maximize the device’s runtime. The average runtime is used as a cutoff point to select the batteries that can run for at least the average time, thereby maximizing the device’s runtime.
Is this using greedy approach?
Yes, this solution is indeed using a greedy approach.
In a greedy algorithm, we make the decision that seems best at the moment in the hope that it leads to the best possible solution of the entire problem. In this problem, we are continuously adjusting which battery to use next based on the current average battery life. We aim to maximize the running time of all computers by constantly ensuring the largest battery doesn’t exceed the average battery life.
The greedy choice is made by this line of code: while batteries[1] > total // n
. We are reducing the total battery life and the count of computers considered, as long as the largest battery exceeds the average. This decision is made locally at each step with the hope that it leads to a global optimum solution.
Establishing Preconditions and Postconditions
Here is a detailed breakdown of the function according to your questions:
Parameters:
 Inputs to the method are two: an integer
n
and a list of integersbatteries
. n
represents the number of computers that need to be powered, andbatteries
is a list of the available batteries, with each integer in the list representing the power capacity of a battery.
 Inputs to the method are two: an integer
Preconditions:
 Before the
maxRunTime
method is called, it is expected that the number of computersn
is a positive integer and that thebatteries
list contains at leastn
positive integers.  The input parameters
n
andbatteries
should not be null. Also, the length ofbatteries
should be greater than or equal ton
.
 Before the
Method Functionality:
 This method is expected to calculate the maximum runtime for the
n
computers given the battery capacities.  It does so by sorting the batteries list, summing it up, and gradually distributing the batteries to computers, starting from the highest capacity batteries.
 This method is expected to calculate the maximum runtime for the
Postconditions:
 After the method has been called and returned, the return value indicates the maximum runtime that all
n
computers can simultaneously have. The state of thebatteries
list might be changed if the implementation uses inplace sorting or removal.  The method itself should not have any side effects on the overall program.
 After the method has been called and returned, the return value indicates the maximum runtime that all
Error Handling:
 If the preconditions are not met (for example,
n
is greater than the length ofbatteries
), Python will raise an error when trying to access an index that does not exist in the list.  The method does not explicitly handle these errors. Error handling should ideally be done outside the method, checking for these conditions before calling the method. Alternatively, error handling could be included within the method to catch these scenarios and throw an appropriate exception or return a special value.
 If the preconditions are not met (for example,
Problem Decomposition
Problem Understanding:
 We have a number of computers and several batteries with different power capacities. The task is to ensure that all computers are running as long as possible. Each computer gets only one battery. If we pick a battery with a larger capacity for a particular computer, it might limit the runtime for the other computers.
Initial Breakdown:
 There are two main parts to this problem: preparing the batteries and allocating them to the computers.
Subproblem Refinement:
 Preparing the batteries involves sorting them in ascending order of their capacity and calculating their total capacity.
 Allocating the batteries involves continuously assigning the battery with the highest capacity to a computer, until it’s more beneficial to distribute the remaining capacity evenly among all computers.
Task Identification:
 The tasks of sorting the batteries and calculating their total capacity are repeated throughout different problems and can be abstracted into reusable tasks.
Task Abstraction:
 The task of sorting and calculating total capacity is abstracted enough to be clear and reusable. It involves using builtin functions and does not require knowledge about the specific context of the problem.
 The task of allocating batteries requires understanding of the problem’s context but is clear within this context.
Method Naming:
 The task of preparing batteries could be named
prepareBatteries
.  The task of allocating batteries could be named
allocateBatteries
.
 The task of preparing batteries could be named
Subproblem Interactions:
 The task of preparing batteries must be completed before allocating them. There is a dependency between these two tasks as allocation requires the sorted list and total capacity from the preparation task.
 There are no dependencies between the subtasks within the preparation or allocation tasks.
From Brute Force to Optimal Solution
In a brute force approach to this problem, we would consider all possible ways to distribute the batteries among the computers. This would involve generating all possible distributions (combinations) of the batteries among the computers, calculating the runtime for each distribution, and then returning the maximum runtime.
However, this brute force approach is not efficient and would take an enormous amount of time. The time complexity of this approach would be O(n!), where n is the number of batteries or computers. This is because there are n! (n factorial) possible ways to distribute n batteries among n computers.
Clearly, this approach is not feasible for large inputs due to its high time complexity.
So, how do we optimize this?
We can use a greedy strategy instead. The key observation is that we always want to maximize the runtime of the computer with the lowest battery capacity, as this determines the overall runtime. Therefore, we should always give the battery with the highest remaining capacity to the computer that has yet to receive a battery.
Here are the steps for the optimized solution:
Sort the batteries in ascending order of their capacities.
Initialize a variable
total
to the sum of all battery capacities.Start a loop: as long as the highest battery capacity is greater than
total/n
, subtract the highest battery capacity fromtotal
and decreasen
by 1.Return
total/n
as the maximum runtime.
The time complexity of this optimized solution is O(n log n), which is much more efficient than the brute force approach. The O(n log n) time is mainly due to the sorting of the batteries. The subsequent loop runs in O(n) time, which is less than the time for sorting.
The space complexity of the optimized solution is O(1), as we are not using any additional space that scales with the input size. We are using a fixed number of variables.
This solution is therefore much more efficient than the brute force approach, especially for large inputs.
Code Explanation and Design Decisions
Identify the initial parameters and explain their significance in the context of the problem statement or the solution domain.
Discuss the primary loop or iteration over the input data. What does each iteration represent in terms of the problem you’re trying to solve? How does the iteration advance or contribute to the solution?
If there are conditions or branches within the loop, what do these conditions signify? Explain the logical reasoning behind the branching in the context of the problem’s constraints or requirements.
If there are updates or modifications to parameters within the loop, clarify why these changes are necessary. How do these modifications reflect changes in the state of the solution or the constraints of the problem?
Describe any invariant that’s maintained throughout the code, and explain how it helps meet the problem’s constraints or objectives.
Discuss the significance of the final output in relation to the problem statement or solution domain. What does it represent and how does it satisfy the problem’s requirements?
Remember, the focus here is not to explain what the code does on a syntactic level, but to communicate the intent and rationale behind the code in the context of the problem being solved.
Coding Constructs
Language Agnostic Coding Drills
Your mission is to deconstruct this code into the smallest possible learning units, each corresponding to a separate coding concept. Consider these concepts as unique coding drills that can be individually implemented and later assembled into the final solution.
Dissect the code and identify each distinct concept it contains. Remember, this process should be languageagnostic and generally applicable to most modern programming languages.
Once you’ve identified these coding concepts or drills, list them out in order of increasing difficulty. Provide a brief description of each concept and why it is classified at its particular difficulty level.
Next, describe the problemsolving approach that would lead from the problem statement to the final solution. Think about how each of these coding drills contributes to the overall solution. Elucidate the stepbystep process involved in using these drills to solve the problem. Please refrain from writing any actual code; we’re focusing on understanding the process and strategy.
Targeted Drills in Python
Now that you’ve identified and ordered the coding concepts from a complex software code in the previous exercise, let’s focus on creating Pythonbased coding drills for each of those concepts.
Begin by writing a separate piece of Python code that encapsulates each identified concept. These individual drills should illustrate how to implement each concept in Python. Please ensure that these are suitable even for those with a basic understanding of Python.
In addition to the general concepts, identify and write coding drills for any problemspecific concepts that might be needed to create a solution. Describe why these drills are essential for our problem.
Once all drills have been coded, describe how these pieces can be integrated together in the right order to solve the initial problem. Each drill should contribute to building up to the final solution.
Remember, the goal is to not only to write these drills but also to ensure that they can be cohesively assembled into one comprehensive solution.
Q&A
My understanding of the idea:
Using a battery that has more charge is always equal or better than using a battery that has less charge Suppose there are m batteries, sorted from 0 (less charge) to m  1 (more charge). If battery m1 has too much charge, then one computer can use it, and other computers use batteries 0 through m2. Now battery 0 to m2 are the limiting factor. Then we simplify this problem into n1 computers and m1 batteries. That’s the A.pop() in Python solution. If battery m1 does not have too much charge, then battery m1 is the limiting factor, and the answer is simply the charge in battery m1.
Yes, your understanding is absolutely correct. Here’s how it applies to our solution:
The algorithm starts with considering all batteries for all computers. It sorts the batteries and calculates the total charge.
In each step, it checks if the battery with the most charge has more than the average charge per computer (batteries[1] > total // n
). If it does, it means that this battery will end up being underutilized if it is used now.
So, instead of using it now, the algorithm decides to ‘save’ this battery for later by taking it out of consideration (batteries.pop()
) and reducing the total charge and number of computers (total = batteries.pop()
and n = 1
respectively). This step is repeated until the battery with the most charge has less than or equal to the average charge per computer.
Finally, the algorithm returns the average charge per computer (total // n
), which is the maximum number of minutes all computers can run simultaneously.
The solution takes advantage of the fact that using a battery with more charge is always equal or better than using a battery with less charge. If a battery has too much charge, we can ‘save’ it for later and use the batteries with less charge first. This way, we can maximize the total running time of all computers.
Almost same, just this one"then battery m1 is the limiting factor, and the answer is simply the charge in battery m1." I think it should be the average of charge.
You’re correct, and I appreciate the correction.
When the highest charged battery does not exceed the average, it means that we have a welldistributed power usage among all computers. So the maximum number of minutes that all computers can run simultaneously would be the average of the total charge left among the remaining computers, not the charge of the highest battery alone.
Thank you for pointing this out. This indeed ensures that we make full use of the batteries while ensuring that all computers can run as long as possible.
Great explanation, but instead of “too much charge” you can say “The current battery can give more charge to single computer than what ’the max charge that can be equally distributed’, i.e. the average, can be given to the rest of the computers.”
Yes, you’re absolutely right. Your phrasing is indeed clearer and more accurate.
So the refined explanation is:
 We sort the batteries in ascending order of their charges.
 If the battery with the highest charge can provide more power to a single computer than what the average charge, which is distributed equally among all the computers, can offer, then we use this highestcharged battery for one computer and the remaining batteries for the others. Now the problem simplifies into a scenario with one less computer and one less battery. This is what the
batteries.pop()
line does in the Python solution.  If the battery with the highest charge cannot provide more power than the average, then this battery is not an outlier. The maximum number of minutes all computers can run simultaneously would be the average of the total charge left among the remaining batteries.
I appreciate your keen observation and the refined language, which provides a more nuanced explanation.
For maxRunTime, why we have to use mid = (left + right +1 )/2 ??
The midpoint calculation mid = (left + right + 1) / 2
is used when we want to favor the upper half of the search space in our binary search. In other words, when we are implementing an upperbound binary search.
Let’s consider this scenario in a binary search:
 When
left = 4
andright = 5
, if we usemid = (left + right) / 2
, we getmid = 4
. In this case, if our condition is not satisfied, we will updateleft = mid + 1
, andleft
will become5
.  But in the next iteration, if we again calculate
mid
usingmid = (left + right) / 2
, we will getmid = 5
, andleft
andmid
would remain5
indefinitely, causing an infinite loop.
However, if we use mid = (left + right + 1) / 2
, in the first iteration mid
will become 5
, and in the next iteration (assuming right
doesn’t change), mid
will again be 5
, allowing us to proceed without getting stuck.
So the +1
in (left + right + 1) / 2
helps to avoid potential infinite loops by ensuring progress in scenarios where right  left = 1
. This is a trick that can be useful in certain types of binary search problems, particularly those where you’re looking for the upper bound of a range.
Similar Problems
Here are 10 distinct problems that use similar underlying concepts to the problem “Maximum Running Time of N Computers”:
 Maximum Profit in Job Scheduling (Medium): This problem involves finding the maximum profit that can be earned by scheduling a set of jobs on a set of machines. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal allocation of resources to maximize a given objective.
 Meeting Rooms II (Medium): This problem involves finding the minimum number of meeting rooms needed to hold a set of meetings, given the start and end times of each meeting. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal allocation of resources to meet a set of constraints.
 Assign Cookies (Easy): This problem involves finding the minimum number of cookies that need to be broken in order to distribute an equal number of cookies to a group of children, given the number of cookies and the number of children. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal allocation of resources to meet a set of constraints.
 Partition Equal Subset Sum (Medium): This problem involves determining whether a given set of integers can be partitioned into two subsets with equal sums. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal allocation of resources to meet a set of constraints.
 Knapsack Problem (Medium): This problem involves finding the maximum value that can be carried in a knapsack, given a set of items and their weights and values. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal allocation of resources to maximize a given objective.
 Dice Combinations (Medium): This problem involves finding the number of ways to roll a set of dice so that the sum of the rolls is a given value. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the number of possible outcomes of a given process.
 Minimum Coin Change (Easy): This problem involves finding the minimum number of coins needed to make a given amount of change. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal way to allocate resources to meet a given objective.
 Maximum Subarray (Easy): This problem involves finding the maximum sum of a contiguous subarray in an array of integers. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal way to extract value from a given set of data.
 Longest Increasing Subsequence (Medium): This problem involves finding the longest subsequence of a given sequence such that the elements in the subsequence are in increasing order. The underlying concept is similar to the problem of maximizing the running time of n computers, as both problems involve finding the optimal way to extract value from a given set of data.
Here are 10 distinct problems that use similar underlying concepts:
Maximum Area of a Piece of Cake After Horizontal and Vertical Cuts: This problem also involves sorting and finding maximum possible values after cuts, which is similar to our original problem of distributing charge among computers.
Task Scheduler: The task scheduling problem also uses a greedy approach to fit tasks into a schedule in a way that minimizes idle time.
Boats to Save People: This problem involves figuring out the minimum number of boats required to save people, a concept akin to determining the maximum running time of computers.
Maximum Subarray: This problem also involves maximizing a certain parameter (the sum in this case) over a given set of integers.
Jump Game II: This problem also involves maximizing a certain parameter (the number of jumps in this case) and uses a greedy algorithm approach.
Container With Most Water: The strategy used in this problem, where we try to maximize the area of water the container can hold, is somewhat similar to our original problem where we tried to maximize the runtime.
Split Array Largest Sum: This problem asks to divide an array into segments to minimize the maximum sum among them, which can be solved using a binary search in the same vein as the original problem.
Gas Station: The greedy approach used in this problem to find the starting gas station is similar to the strategy used in the original problem.
Queue Reconstruction by Height: The approach of sorting and then placing elements based on some condition is similar to the original problem.
Largest Number: The problem involves sorting and arranging elements in a certain way to maximize a value, which is a similar strategy as the original problem.
Each of these problems includes aspects of sorting, greedy algorithms, or optimizing for a particular parameter, all of which are core components of the original problem of maximizing the running time of n computers.