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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41
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
169 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?
36
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
28
votes
8answers
1k 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
5k 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= ...
37
votes
4answers
5k 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
3answers
11k 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
3k 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., ...
16
votes
4answers
7k 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 $\left\{1,1,3,5,8,13,21,...\right\}$.
8
votes
3answers
865 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
5answers
640 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
1k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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?
7
votes
3answers
1k 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
4answers
807 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 ...
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
3k 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 ...
23
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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
146 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 + ...
0
votes
1answer
410 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
495 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 ...
26
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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 | ...
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
7k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
698 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 $10^{9}+7$. ...
32
votes
7answers
23k 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
3k 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
840 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
3answers
4k 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?
11
votes
5answers
31k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
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.
6
votes
5answers
2k 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
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
441 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
694 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
24k 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
380 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
414 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
270 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
832 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.
7
votes
2answers
611 views

Lines in the plane and recurrence relation

I am trying to solve the following problem from Cohen's Basic Techniques of Combinatorial Theory: A collection of $n$ lines in the plane are are said to be in general position if no two are ...
7
votes
4answers
667 views

Why does this expected value simplify as shown?

I was reading about the german tank problem and they say that in a sample of size $k$, from a population of integers from $1,\ldots,N$ the probability that the sample maximum equals $m$ is: ...
7
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
384 views

Proving the total number of subsets of S is equal to $2^n$

Student here! Just reading Liebecks Introduction to pure mathematics for fun and I made an attempt at proving the total number of subsets of S is equal to $2^n$. I realized that the total number of ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

An efficient method for computing the number of submultisets of size n, of a given multiset

There are a number of ways to describe this problem. I shall name a few. Submultisets Let $(M, f)$ be a multiset where $M = {x_1, ... x_k}, |M| = k$ and $f(x_i) = m_i$, i ranging from 0 to k ...