The Time When the Network Becomes Idle
Strategy:
Calculate the Minimum Distance to Master Server: First, we need to find the minimum time it takes for a message to travel from each data server to the master server. This can be achieved using a BreadthFirst Search (BFS) algorithm, starting from the master server and going through the edges.
Calculate the Time for Each Data Server: For each data server, we will calculate the time required to send a message to the master server and back (i.e.,
2 * distance_to_master[i]
). Additionally, we will calculate how many times the message will be resent based on patience and distance and account for that in the total time.Find the Maximum Time: Finally, we will find the maximum time among all data servers, and return this value plus one. This will represent the first second when the network becomes idle.
Implementation:


This code starts by building the graph using an adjacency list and then calculates the minimum distance from the master server (0) to each data server using a BFS. Finally, it calculates the time required for each data server and returns the maximum time plus one as the earliest second when the network becomes idle.
The time complexity of this solution is ( O(n + E) ), where ( n ) is the number of servers and ( E ) is the number of edges. The space complexity is also ( O(n + E) ).
Identifying Problem Isomorphism
“The Time When the Network Becomes Idle” has an approximate isomorphism to “Network Delay Time”.
Both problems deal with network transmissions and time taken for these transmissions to be completed across the network.
In “The Time When the Network Becomes Idle”, you are provided with an array of edges defining the network’s connections, an array of messages, and a patience value. The goal is to calculate when the network becomes idle after all messages have been sent and all responses received, taking into account that every node has a certain level of ‘patience’ beyond which it resends the message.
“Network Delay Time” also asks for a computation of time taken for a message to be sent across the network. You are given a network represented as an edge list, a transmission time for each edge, and a source node from which a message is transmitted. The task is to find out how long it will take for all nodes to receive the signal.
Both problems are about signal propagation through a network, but “The Time When the Network Becomes Idle” introduces additional considerations of message retransmission and idle time, making it a more complex problem.
10 Prerequisite LeetCode Problems
For this, the following are a good preparation:
“207. Course Schedule”  This problem deals with detecting a cycle in a graph represented by an edge list, which is a crucial step in understanding how data can flow through a network.
“743. Network Delay Time”  Here, you find the time it takes for a message to be sent to all nodes in a network, which is similar to the problem’s requirement of finding when the network becomes idle.
“787. Cheapest Flights Within K Stops”  This problem involves finding the shortest path in a weighted graph, similar to sending messages in the network problem.
“210. Course Schedule II”  This problem extends problem 207 by requiring you to return one correct order in which courses can be taken. This gives practice on the concept of topological sorting, which could be helpful in understanding the sequence of events in the network problem.
“332. Reconstruct Itinerary”  This problem has you reconstruct a path from an edge list, which is similar to the paths messages take in the network problem.
“133. Clone Graph”  In this problem, you clone a graph, which deepens your understanding of graph data structures.
“684. Redundant Connection”  Here, you identify a redundant connection in a graph, which requires understanding how data flows in a graph.
“399. Evaluate Division”  This problem involves a graph where edges have weights and you need to find the product of weights along a path, which helps with understanding the processing times in the network problem.
“886. Possible Bipartition”  In this problem, you check if it’s possible to divide a graph’s nodes into two groups, which strengthens your ability to reason about graphs.
“127. Word Ladder”  This problem is essentially a shortest path problem in a graph, similar to finding when the network becomes idle.
These cover graph traversal, shortest paths, topological sorting, and other graph algorithms, which are valuable for solving “2039. The Time When the Network Becomes Idle”.
Clarification Questions
What are the clarification questions we can ask about this problem?
Problem Analysis and Key Insights
What are the key insights from analyzing the problem statement?
Problem Boundary
What is the scope of this problem?
How to establish the boundary of this problem?
Problem Classification
Problem Statement:There is a network of n servers, labeled from 0 to n  1. You are given a 2D integer array edges, where edges[i] = [ui, vi] indicates there is a message channel between servers ui and vi, and they can pass any number of messages to each other directly in one second. You are also given a 0indexed integer array patience of length n.
All servers are connected, i.e., a message can be passed from one server to any other server(s) directly or indirectly through the message channels.
The server labeled 0 is the master server. The rest are data servers. Each data server needs to send its message to the master server for processing and wait for a reply. Messages move between servers optimally, so every message takes the least amount of time to arrive at the master server. The master server will process all newly arrived messages instantly and send a reply to the originating server via the reversed path the message had gone through.
At the beginning of second 0, each data server sends its message to be processed. Starting from second 1, at the beginning of every second, each data server will check if it has received a reply to the message it sent (including any newly arrived replies) from the master server:
If it has not, it will resend the message periodically. The data server i will resend the message every patience[i] second(s), i.e., the data server i will resend the message if patience[i] second(s) have elapsed since the last time the message was sent from this server. Otherwise, no more resending will occur from this server. The network becomes idle when there are no messages passing between servers or arriving at servers.
Return the earliest second starting from which the network becomes idle.
Example 1:
example 1 Input: edges = [[0,1],[1,2]], patience = [0,2,1] Output: 8 Explanation: At (the beginning of) second 0,
 Data server 1 sends its message (denoted 1A) to the master server.
 Data server 2 sends its message (denoted 2A) to the master server.
At second 1,
 Message 1A arrives at the master server. Master server processes message 1A instantly and sends a reply 1A back.
 Server 1 has not received any reply. 1 second (1 < patience[1] = 2) elapsed since this server has sent the message, therefore it does not resend the message.
 Server 2 has not received any reply. 1 second (1 == patience[2] = 1) elapsed since this server has sent the message, therefore it resends the message (denoted 2B).
At second 2,
 The reply 1A arrives at server 1. No more resending will occur from server 1.
 Message 2A arrives at the master server. Master server processes message 2A instantly and sends a reply 2A back.
 Server 2 resends the message (denoted 2C). … At second 4,
 The reply 2A arrives at server 2. No more resending will occur from server 2. … At second 7, reply 2D arrives at server 2.
Starting from the beginning of the second 8, there are no messages passing between servers or arriving at servers. This is the time when the network becomes idle. Example 2:
example 2 Input: edges = [[0,1],[0,2],[1,2]], patience = [0,10,10] Output: 3 Explanation: Data servers 1 and 2 receive a reply back at the beginning of second 2. From the beginning of the second 3, the network becomes idle.
Constraints:
n == patience.length 2 <= n <= 105 patience[0] == 0 1 <= patience[i] <= 105 for 1 <= i < n 1 <= edges.length <= min(105, n * (n  1) / 2) edges[i].length == 2 0 <= ui, vi < n ui != vi There are no duplicate edges. Each server can directly or indirectly reach another server.
Analyze the provided problem statement. Categorize it based on its domain, ignoring ‘How’ it might be solved. Identify and list out the ‘What’ components. Based on these, further classify the problem. Explain your categorizations.
Distilling the Problem to Its Core Elements
Can you identify the fundamental concept or principle this problem is based upon? Please explain. What is the simplest way you would describe this problem to someone unfamiliar with the subject? What is the core problem we are trying to solve? Can we simplify the problem statement? Can you break down the problem into its key components? What is the minimal set of operations we need to perform to solve this problem?
Visual Model of the Problem
How to visualize the problem statement for this problem?
Problem Restatement
Could you start by paraphrasing the problem statement in your own words? Try to distill the problem into its essential elements and make sure to clarify the requirements and constraints. This exercise should aid in understanding the problem better and aligning our thought process before jumping into solving it.
Abstract Representation of the Problem
Could you help me formulate an abstract representation of this problem?
Given this problem, how can we describe it in an abstract way that emphasizes the structure and key elements, without the specific realworld details?
Terminology
Are there any specialized terms, jargon, or technical concepts that are crucial to understanding this problem or solution? Could you define them and explain their role within the context of this problem?
Problem Simplification and Explanation
Could you please break down this problem into simpler terms? What are the key concepts involved and how do they interact? Can you also provide a metaphor or analogy to help me understand the problem better?
Constraints
Given the problem statement and the constraints provided, identify specific characteristics or conditions that can be exploited to our advantage in finding an efficient solution. Look for patterns or specific numerical ranges that could be useful in manipulating or interpreting the data.
What are the key insights from analyzing the constraints?
Case Analysis
Could you please provide additional examples or test cases that cover a wider range of the input space, including edge and boundary conditions? In doing so, could you also analyze each example to highlight different aspects of the problem, key constraints and potential pitfalls, as well as the reasoning behind the expected output for each case? This should help in generating key insights about the problem and ensuring the solution is robust and handles all possible scenarios.
Provide names by categorizing these cases
What are the edge cases?
How to visualize these cases?
What are the key insights from analyzing the different cases?
Identification of Applicable Theoretical Concepts
Can you identify any mathematical or algorithmic concepts or properties that can be applied to simplify the problem or make it more manageable? Think about the nature of the operations or manipulations required by the problem statement. Are there existing theories, metrics, or methodologies in mathematics, computer science, or related fields that can be applied to calculate, measure, or perform these operations more effectively or efficiently?
Simple Explanation
Can you explain this problem in simple terms or like you would explain to a nontechnical person? Imagine you’re explaining this problem to someone without a background in programming. How would you describe it? If you had to explain this problem to a child or someone who doesn’t know anything about coding, how would you do it? In layman’s terms, how would you explain the concept of this problem? Could you provide a metaphor or everyday example to explain the idea of this problem?
Problem Breakdown and Solution Methodology
Given the problem statement, can you explain in detail how you would approach solving it? Please break down the process into smaller steps, illustrating how each step contributes to the overall solution. If applicable, consider using metaphors, analogies, or visual representations to make your explanation more intuitive. After explaining the process, can you also discuss how specific operations or changes in the problem’s parameters would affect the solution? Lastly, demonstrate the workings of your approach using one or more example cases.
Inference of ProblemSolving Approach from the Problem Statement
Can you identify the key terms or concepts in this problem and explain how they inform your approach to solving it? Please list each keyword and how it guides you towards using a specific strategy or method. How can I recognize these properties by drawing tables or diagrams?
How did you infer from the problem statement that this problem can be solved using ?
Simple Explanation of the Proof
I’m having trouble understanding the proof of this algorithm. Could you explain it in a way that’s easy to understand?
Stepwise Refinement
Could you please provide a stepwise refinement of our approach to solving this problem?
How can we take the highlevel solution approach and distill it into more granular, actionable steps?
Could you identify any parts of the problem that can be solved independently?
Are there any repeatable patterns within our solution?
Solution Approach and Analysis
Given the problem statement, can you explain in detail how you would approach solving it? Please break down the process into smaller steps, illustrating how each step contributes to the overall solution. If applicable, consider using metaphors, analogies, or visual representations to make your explanation more intuitive. After explaining the process, can you also discuss how specific operations or changes in the problem’s parameters would affect the solution? Lastly, demonstrate the workings of your approach using one or more example cases.
Identify Invariant
What is the invariant in this problem?
Identify Loop Invariant
What is the loop invariant in this problem?
Is invariant and loop invariant the same for this problem?
Thought Process
Can you explain the basic thought process and steps involved in solving this type of problem?
Explain the thought process by thinking step by step to solve this problem from the problem statement and code the final solution. Write code in Python3. What are the cues in the problem statement? What direction does it suggest in the approach to the problem? Generate insights about the problem statement.
Establishing Preconditions and Postconditions
Parameters:
 What are the inputs to the method?
 What types are these parameters?
 What do these parameters represent in the context of the problem?
Preconditions:
 Before this method is called, what must be true about the state of the program or the values of the parameters?
 Are there any constraints on the input parameters?
 Is there a specific state that the program or some part of it must be in?
Method Functionality:
 What is this method expected to do?
 How does it interact with the inputs and the current state of the program?
Postconditions:
 After the method has been called and has returned, what is now true about the state of the program or the values of the parameters?
 What does the return value represent or indicate?
 What side effects, if any, does the method have?
Error Handling:
 How does the method respond if the preconditions are not met?
 Does it throw an exception, return a special value, or do something else?
Problem Decomposition
Problem Understanding:
 Can you explain the problem in your own words? What are the key components and requirements?
Initial Breakdown:
 Start by identifying the major parts or stages of the problem. How can you break the problem into several broad subproblems?
Subproblem Refinement:
 For each subproblem identified, ask yourself if it can be further broken down. What are the smaller tasks that need to be done to solve each subproblem?
Task Identification:
 Within these smaller tasks, are there any that are repeated or very similar? Could these be generalized into a single, reusable task?
Task Abstraction:
 For each task you’ve identified, is it abstracted enough to be clear and reusable, but still makes sense in the context of the problem?
Method Naming:
 Can you give each task a simple, descriptive name that makes its purpose clear?
Subproblem Interactions:
 How do these subproblems or tasks interact with each other? In what order do they need to be performed? Are there any dependencies?
From Brute Force to Optimal Solution
Could you please begin by illustrating a brute force solution for this problem? After detailing and discussing the inefficiencies of the brute force approach, could you then guide us through the process of optimizing this solution? Please explain each step towards optimization, discussing the reasoning behind each decision made, and how it improves upon the previous solution. Also, could you show how these optimizations impact the time and space complexity of our solution?
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
Consider the code for the solution of this problem.
What are the highlevel problemsolving strategies or techniques being used by this code?
If you had to explain the purpose of this code to a nonprogrammer, what would you say?
Can you identify the logical elements or constructs used in this code, independent of any programming language?
Could you describe the algorithmic approach used by this code in plain English?
What are the key steps or operations this code is performing on the input data, and why?
Can you identify the algorithmic patterns or strategies used by this code, irrespective of the specific programming language syntax?
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
Similar Problems
Can you suggest 10 problems from LeetCode that require similar problemsolving strategies or use similar underlying concepts as the problem we’ve just solved? These problems can be from any domain or topic, but they should involve similar steps or techniques in the solution process. Also, please briefly explain why you consider each of these problems to be related to our original problem. The response text is of the following format:
Here are 10 problems that use similar underlying concepts: