For questions about the study of finite or countable discrete structures, specifically how to count or enumerate elements in a set (perhaps of all possibilities) or any subset. It includes questions on permutations, combinations, bijective proofs, and generating functions.

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3
votes
3answers
256 views

Prove $\sum_{i=0}^n\binom{i+k-1}{k-1}=\binom{n+k}{k}$

Could someone explain to me why the identity $$ \sum_{i=0}^n\binom{i+k-1}{k-1}=\binom{n+k}{k} $$ holds?
42
votes
2answers
3k views

Identity for convolution of central binomial coefficients

It's not difficult to show that $$(1-z^2)^{-1/2}=\sum_{n=0}^\infty \binom{2n}{n}2^{-2n}z^{2n}$$ On the other hand, we have $(1-z^2)^{-1}=\sum z^{2n}$. Squaring the first power series and comparing ...
18
votes
3answers
13k views

Combinatorial proof of summation of $\sum_{k = 0}^n {n \choose k}^2= {2n \choose n}$

Can you guys help me prove this? There is a way of proving this logically but I was hoping to find a more "mathematical" proof, if possible. $$\displaystyle \sum_{k = 0}^n {n \choose k}^2= {2n ...
38
votes
8answers
9k views

Taking Seats on a Plane

This is a neat little problem that I was discussing today with my lab group out at lunch. Not particularly difficult but interesting implications nonetheless Imagine there are a 100 people in line to ...
29
votes
8answers
2k views

why is $\sum\limits_{k=1}^{n} k^m$ a polynomial with degree $m+1$ in $n$

why is $\sum\limits_{k=1}^{n} k^m$ a polynomial with degree $m+1$ in $n$? I know this is well-known. But how to prove it rigorously? Even mathematical induction does not seem so straight-forward. ...
11
votes
6answers
6k views

Proving Pascal's Rule : ${{n} \choose {r}}={{n-1} \choose {r-1}}+{{n-1} \choose r}$ when $1\leq r\leq n$

I'm trying to prove that ${n \choose r}$ is equal to ${{n-1} \choose {r-1}}+{{n-1} \choose r}$ when $1\leq r\leq n$. I suppose I could use the counting rules in probability, perhaps combination= ...
39
votes
4answers
6k views

Probability for the length of the longest run in $n$ Bernoulli trials

Suppose a biased coin (probability of head being $p$) was flipped $n$ times. I would like to find the probability that the length of the longest run of heads, say $\ell_n$, exceeds a given number $m$, ...
17
votes
7answers
8k views

Making Change for a Dollar (and other number partitioning problems)

I was trying to solve a problem similar to the "how many ways are there to make change for a dollar" problem. I ran across a site that said I could use a generating function similar to the one quoted ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

I have a problem understanding the proof of Rencontres numbers (Derangements)

I understand the whole concept of Rencontres numbers but I can't understand how to prove this equation $$D_{n,0}=\left[\frac{n!}{e}\right]$$ where $[\cdot]$ denotes the rounding function (i.e., ...
19
votes
4answers
9k views

The generating function for the Fibonacci numbers

Prove that $$1+z+2z^2+3z^3+5z^4+8z^5+13z^6+...=\frac{1}{1-(z+z^2)}$$ The coefficients are Fibonacci numbers, i.e., the sequence $\left\{1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,...\right\}$.
9
votes
3answers
970 views

Number of permutations of $n$ where no number $i$ is in position $i$

I am trying to figure out how many permutations exist in a set where none of the numbers equal their own position in the set; for example, $3,1,5,2,4$ is an acceptable permutation where $3,1,2,4,5$ is ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Enumerating number of solutions to an equation

How do you find the number of solutions like this? $$x_1 + x_2 + x_3 + x_4 = 32$$ where $0 \le x_i \le 10$. What's the generalized approach for it?
5
votes
5answers
680 views

Given $n \in \mathbb N$, prove $\sum^n_{k=0}(-1)^k {n \choose k} = 0$

I tried to solve it using induction, but that got me no were, in the middle of the equation stat appearing ks that I don't see how to get out of the equation. I think the easiest way to prove it, it's ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Algebraic Proof that $\sum\limits_{i=0}^n \binom{n}{i}=2^n$

I'm well aware of the combinatorial variant of the proof, i.e. noting that each formula is a different representation for the number of subsets of a set of $n$ elements. I'm curious if there's a ...
9
votes
4answers
884 views

Combinatorial proof

Using notion of derivative of functions from Taylor formula follow that $$e^x=\sum_{k=0}^{\infty}\frac{x^k}{k!}$$ Is there any elementary combinatorial proof of this formula here is my proof for ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Proof of a combinatorial identity: $\sum_{i=0}^n {2i \choose i}{2(n-i)\choose n-i} = 4^n$ [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Identity involving binomial coefficients This was part of a homework assignment that I had, and I couldn't figure it out. Now it is bugging me. Can anyone help me? ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

In how many ways can we colour $n$ baskets with $r$ colours?

In how many ways can we colour $n$ baskets using up to $r$ colours such that no two consecutive baskets have the same colour and the first and the last baskets also have different colours? For ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

6-letter permutations in MISSISSIPPI

How many 6-letter permutations can be formed using only the letters of the word, MISSISSIPPI? I understand the trivial case where there are no repeating letters in the word (for arranging smaller ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

How to reverse the $n$ choose $k$ formula?

If I want to find how many possible ways there are to choose k out of n elements I know you can use the simple formula below: $$ \binom{n}{k} = \frac{n! }{ k!(n-k)! } .$$ What if I want to go the ...
0
votes
1answer
483 views

extended stars-and-bars problem(where the upper limit of the variable is bounded)

The problem of counting the solutions $(a_1,a_2,\ldots,a_n)$ with integer $a_i\geq0$ for $i\in\{1,2,\ldots,n\}$ such that $$a_1+a_2+a_3+....a_n=N$$ can be solved with a stars-and-bars argument. What ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Inductive proof that ${2n\choose n}=\sum{n\choose i}^2.$

I would like to prove inductively that $${2n\choose n}=\sum_{i=0}^n{n\choose i}^2.$$ I know a couple of non-inductive proofs, but I can't do it this way. The inductive step eludes me. I tried naively ...
3
votes
2answers
160 views

Sum of combinations with varying $n$ [duplicate]

What is the sum of number of ways of choosing $n$ elements from $(n+r)$ elements where $r$ is fixed and $n$ varies from $1$ to $m$ ? Can this be reduced to a formula ? $$ \sum ^m _{n=1} \binom{n + ...
28
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I count the subsets of a set whose number of elements is divisible by 3? 4?

Let $S$ be a set of size $n$. There is an easy way to count the number of subsets with an even number of elements. Algebraically, it comes from the fact that $\displaystyle \sum_{k=0}^{n} {n ...
2
votes
1answer
519 views

How can I determine the number of unique hands of size H for a given deck of cards?

I'm working on a card game, which uses a non-standard deck of cards. Since I'm still tweaking the layout of the deck, I've been using variables as follows: Hand size: $H$ Number of suits: $S$ Number ...
15
votes
1answer
752 views

Find the number of arrangements of $k \mbox{ }1'$s, $k \mbox{ }2'$s, $\cdots, k \mbox{ }n'$s - total $kn$ cards.

Find the number of arrangements of $k \mbox{ }1'$s, $k \mbox{ }2'$s, $\cdots, k \mbox{ }n'$s - total $kn$ cards - so that no same numbers appear consecutively. For $k=2$ we can compute it by using ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Demonstrate another way to solve the Inclusion–exclusion principle?

I'm attempting to solving the Inclusion–exclusion principle, which is generally described as follows... $$\begin{align} \left| \bigcup\limits_{i=1}^n A_i \right| = + \left( \sum\limits_{i=0}^n | ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Combinations of selecting n objects with k different types

Suppose that I am buying cakes for a party. There are k different types and I intend to buy a total of n cakes. How many different combinations of cakes could I possibly bring to the party?
10
votes
5answers
8k views

Calculating the total number of surjective functions

It is quite easy to calculate the total number of functions from a set $X$ with $m$ elements to a set $Y$ with $n$ elements ($n^{m}$), and also the total number of injective functions ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Counting number of moves on a grid

Imagine a two-dimensional grid consisting of 20 points along the x-axis and 10 points along the y-axis. Suppose the origin (0,0) is in the bottom-left corner and the point (20,10) is the top-right ...
6
votes
5answers
8k views

Number of relations that are both symmetric and reflexive

Consider a non-empty set A containing n objects. How many relations on A are both symmetric and reflexive? The answer to this is $2^p$ where $p=$ $n \choose 2$. However, I dont understand why this is ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

How many ways can $b$ balls be distributed in $c$ containers with no more than $n$ balls in any given container?

I think there are $\binom{b+ c - 1}{c-1}$ ways to distribute $b$ balls in $c$ containers. (Please correct me if that's a mistake.) How does this change if I am not allowed to place more than $n$ balls ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

How to show that this binomial sum satisfies the Fibonacci relation?

The binomial sum $$s_n=\binom{n+1}{0}+\binom{n}{1}+\binom{n-1}{2}+\cdots$$ satisfies the Fibonacci relation. I failed to prove that $\binom{n-k+1}{k}=\binom{n-k}{k}+\binom{n-k-1}{k}$... Any ...
5
votes
3answers
356 views

How do you prove ${n \choose k}$ is maximum when k is $ \lceil \frac n2 \rceil$ or $ \lfloor \frac n2\rfloor $?

How do you prove ${n \choose k}$ is maximum when k is $ \lceil \frac{n}{2} \rceil $ or $ \lfloor \frac{n}{2} \rfloor$ ? This link provides a proof of sorts but it is not satisfying. From what I ...
2
votes
3answers
728 views

Counting subsets containing three consecutive elements (previously Summation over large values of nCr)

Problem: In how many ways can you select at least $3$ items consecutively out of a set of $n ( 3\leqslant n \leqslant10^{15}$) items. Since the answer could be very large, output it modulo $10^{9}+7$. ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How many ways can $r$ nonconsecutive integers be chosen from the first $n$ integers?

During self-study, I ran across the question of how many ways six numbers can be chosen from the numbers 1 - 49 without replacement, stipulating that no two of the numbers be consecutive. I can ...
33
votes
7answers
29k views

How many triangles

I saw this riddle today, it asks how many triangles are in this picture . I don't know how to solve this (without counting directly), though I guess it has something to do with some recurrence. ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I do Combinatorics / Counting?

If someone could give answers and explain, it would be greatly appreciated. Help required studying for a final. One hundred tickets, numbered 1,2,3,…,100, are sold to 100 different people for a ...
16
votes
2answers
868 views

What's the General Expression For Probability of a Failed Gift Exchange Draw

My family does a gift exchange every year at Christmas. There are five couples and we draw names from a hat. If a person draws their own name, or the name of their spouse, all the names go back in a ...
12
votes
5answers
35k views

Number of ways of distributing n identical objects among r groups

I came across this formula in a list: The number of ways of distributing $n$ identical objects among $r$ groups such that each group can have $0$ or more $(\le n)$ objects I know that standard way ...
8
votes
2answers
12k views

Unique ways to keep N balls into K Boxes?

How many unique ways I can keep N balls into K boxes, where each box should atleast contain ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Simplifying Catalan number recurrence relation

While solving a problem, I reduced it in the form of the following recurrence relation. $ C_{0} = 1, C_{n} = \displaystyle\sum_{i=0}^{n - 1} C_{i}C_{n - i - 1} $ However ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Fibonacci sequence divisible by 7?

Make and prove a conjecture about when the Fibonacci sequence, $F_n$, is divisible by $7$. I've realized it's when $n$ is a multiple of $8$. I just don't know how to go about proving it.
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Derivation of the Partial Derangement (Rencontres numbers) formula

I'm looking for the method by which the partial derangement formula $D_{n,k}$ was derived. I can determine the values for small values of N empirically, but how the general case formula arose still ...
2
votes
5answers
458 views

Finding generating function for the recurrence $a_0 = 1$, $a_n = {n \choose 2} + 3a_{n - 1}$

I am trying to find generating function for the recurrence: $a_0 = 1$, $a_n = {n \choose 2} + 3a_{n - 1}$ for every $n \ge 1$. It looks like this: $a_0 = 1$ $a_1 = {1 \choose 2} + 3$ $a_2 = {2 ...
22
votes
5answers
14k views

In how many ways can a number be expressed as a sum of consecutive numbers?

All the positive numbers can be expressed as a sum of one, two or more consecutive positive integers. For example 9 can be expressed in three such ways, 2+3+4, 4+5 or 9. In how many ways can a number ...
23
votes
6answers
29k views

Combination of smartphones' pattern password

Have you ever seen this interface? Nowadays, it is used for locking smartphones. If you haven't, here is a short video on it. The rules for creating a pattern is as follows. We must use ...
12
votes
3answers
404 views

Are there any Combinatoric proofs of Bertrand's postulate?

I feel like there must exist a combinatoric proof of a theorem like: There is a prime between $n$ and $2n$, or $p$ and $p^2$ or anything similar to this stronger than there is a prime between $p$ and ...
3
votes
2answers
418 views

What is the probability that $x_1+x_2+…+x_n \le n$?

Given that $X_1, X_2...$ are mutually independent random variables. For each $i$ with $1\le i \le n$ the variable $X_i$ is equal to either $0$ or $n+1$ $E(X_i)$ = $1$ also.. if $X_i$ is equal to ...
5
votes
4answers
279 views

Proving $\sum_{m=0}^M \binom{m+k}{k} = \binom{k+M+1}{k+1}$

Prove that $$\sum_{m=0}^M \binom{m+k}{k} = \binom{k+M+1}{k+1}$$ by computing the coefficient of $z^M$ in the identity $$(1 + z + z^2 + \cdots ) \cdot \frac{1}{(1-z)^{k+1}} = \frac1{(1-z)^{k+2}}.$$ I ...
8
votes
5answers
856 views

Proof of $\sum_{0 \le k \le t} {t-k \choose r}{k \choose s}={t+1 \choose r+s+1}$?

How do I prove that $$\sum_{0 \le k \le t} {t-k \choose r}{k \choose s}={t+1 \choose r+s+1} \>?$$ I saw this in a book discussing generating functions.