# Amazon Interview: How to Design a Meeting Scheduler

# Amazon Interview: How to Design a Meeting Scheduler

A common question that often comes up during Amazon interviews is to design a meeting scheduler. This question tests your problem-solving skills, your understanding of data structures, and your ability to create efficient algorithms. In this blog post, I’ll explain how to approach this problem and provide a detailed solution.

## Understanding the Problem

The first step in designing a meeting scheduler is to understand the problem. In this case, the problem can be framed as follows: Given the schedules of two or more people, design a system that can find a mutually convenient meeting time.

In the real world, this problem manifests itself in various ways, such as scheduling meetings across different time zones, taking into account participants' preferences, and handling overlapping meetings. Understanding these intricacies is crucial in designing an effective solution.

## Data Structures and Algorithms

When designing a meeting scheduler, the choice of data structures and algorithms is critical. The use of appropriate data structures can significantly improve the efficiency of the system.

**Priority Queue**: A priority queue can be used to keep track of the start and end times of meetings. The priority queue allows us to quickly find the next meeting that starts or ends.**HashMaps**: Hashmaps can be used to store the availability of each participant. The key would be the participant’s id and the value would be their availability.**Interval Trees**: Interval trees are a type of tree data structure that allows one to efficiently find all intervals that overlap with any given interval or point.

## Basic Algorithm

**Step 1**: Parse the input and create a list of meetings for each participant. Each meeting should have a start and an end time.**Step 2**: Use a priority queue to sort the meetings based on start time. If two meetings start at the same time, sort them based on end time.**Step 3**: Iterate through the sorted list of meetings. For each meeting, check if it overlaps with the next meeting in the queue. If it does, merge the two meetings.**Step 4**: Repeat step 3 until no overlapping meetings remain.**Step 5**: The remaining time slots are the available meeting times. Look for a time slot that works for all participants.

## Handling Edge Cases

In addition to the basic algorithm, there are a few edge cases that need to be handled.

**Overlapping Meetings**: If a participant has overlapping meetings, the system should be able to handle this. The algorithm above takes care of overlapping meetings by merging them into one.**Different Time Zones**: If the participants are in different time zones, the system should adjust the meeting times accordingly. This can be done by converting all times to a common time zone before running the algorithm.**Preferences**: If participants have preferences for certain times, this should be taken into account when scheduling the meeting. This could be done by assigning weights to different time slots and choosing the slot with the highest total weight.

## Conclusion

Designing a meeting scheduler is a complex problem that involves understanding the problem, choosing the right data structures, and creating an efficient algorithm. By following the steps outlined in this post, you should be well-equipped to tackle this problem in your Amazon interview.

Remember to handle edge cases and consider the real-world implications of the system you design. The most successful solutions are not just technically sound, but also practical and user-friendly. Good luck with your interview!

Keywords: Amazon Interview, Design Meeting Scheduler, Data Structures, Algorithms, Overlapping Meetings, Time Zones, Preferences.

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