For questions about Combinatorial design theory, a part of combinatorial mathematics that deals with the existence, construction and properties of systems of finite sets whose arrangements satisfy generalized concepts of balance and/or symmetry. The theory has applications in the area of the design ...

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4
votes
1answer
54 views

Steiner triple system with $\lambda \le 1$

What's the maximum number of 3-sized subsets of $[n]$ that can exist such that no two subsets contain more than one common element? When $n \equiv 1,3 \mod 6$ then this is equivalent to a Steiner ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Combining kindergardeners in 'fair' cookie-baking groups. Kirkman's schoolgirl problem extended version

I am coordinating cookie-baking events with kindergarten kids. This turns out to be a challenging problem, and I could use a little help: We would like a general way of creating 'fair' cookie-baking ...
7
votes
1answer
116 views

How many different ways can the signs be chosen so that $\pm 1\pm 2\pm 3 … \pm (n-1) \pm n = n+1$?

How many different ways can the signs be chosen so that $\pm 1\pm 2\pm 3 ... \pm (n-1) \pm n = n+1$? This is an extension of this question: For what $n$ can $\pm 1\pm 2\pm 3 ... \pm (n-1) \pm n = n+...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you create projective plane out of a finite field?

I have heard and read unclear mentions of links between projective planes and finite fields. Is it possible to construct a projective plane (or a Steiner system) starting out with a field? Could you, ...
5
votes
1answer
211 views

Number of combinations such that each pair of combinations has at most x elements in common?

I am doing research on the sense of smell and have a combinatorics problem: I have 128 different odors (n) and I mix them in mixtures of 10 (r). There are 2.26846154e+14 different mixtures. What I ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

unbalancing lights

I'm reading the following notes on unbalancing lights, http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~sinclair/cs271/n5.pdf. The question i have is regarding the first page. Where it says Consider a square $n \...
7
votes
2answers
236 views

Who conjectured that there are only finitely many biplanes, and why?

This question on MathOverflow motivates me to ask what the reasoning is behind the conjecture that there are only finitely many biplanes. More generally, it has been conjectured that for fixed $\...
5
votes
3answers
537 views

Orthogonal Latin Square 6*6

I need to make remarks about Tarry's Proof for the nonexistence of 6x6 Latin Squares as part of my final exam for a class I'm in. Problem is, I can't find it ANYWHERE on the internet. I can only find ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

A strange scheduling for $K_{24}$.

This question came from a question asked earlier today linked here The question implicitly asked how to make a schedule with his/her class of 24 students such that: 1) Everyday will consist of the ...
1
vote
2answers
59 views

Choosing sets of vectors on a complex sphere

Consider a complex $t$ dimensional unit sphere. Can we have $t$ sets of $2^t$ vectors $v_{ij}\in \Bbb C^t$ on the sphere where $i=1$ to $t$ and $j=1$ to $2^t$ on this with inner products satisfying $...