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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28
votes
0answers
778 views

Making Friends around a Circular Table

I have $n$ people seated around a circular table, initially in random order. At each step, I choose two people and switch their seats. What is the minimum number of steps required such that every ...
24
votes
0answers
545 views

Generating function solution to previous question $a_{n}=a_{\lfloor n/2\rfloor}+a_{\lfloor n/3 \rfloor}+a_{\lfloor n/6\rfloor}$

In attempting to answer this question, I reduced it to a seemingly simple generating functions question, but after days of work was unable to construct a proof. Since I do not have experience trying ...
20
votes
0answers
717 views

$f(x)=\sum_{t}{x \choose t}{n-x \choose k-t}$ - even or odd?

The following function popped in my research: $$f(x)=\sum_{\array{0\le t\le k \\ t\equiv_p a}}{x \choose t}{n-x \choose k-t}$$ Where: n,k are natural numbers and $k\le n$. t is taken over all ...
17
votes
0answers
245 views

Is this determinant identity known?

Let $A$ be an $n \times n$ matrix that is 'almost upper triangular' in the following sense: entries on and above the main diagonal can be whatever they want, entries on the diagonal just below the ...
14
votes
0answers
506 views

Prove this determinant identity combinatorially

This is for those of you who understand the Lindstrom-Gessel-Viennot lemma. I am looking for a proof of the following identity using paths and such: Let $A$ be an $n\times n$ matrix, and for ...
13
votes
0answers
295 views

Symmetric polynomials

I've got a seemingly simple question that I've become curious about as a result of supervising some undergraduate research. Let's suppose we have some sequence of polynomials $f_0, f_1, f_2, \cdots ...
12
votes
0answers
95 views

Prove a matrix of binomial coefficients over $\mathbb{F}_p$ satisfies $A^3 = I$.

(This problem is problem $1.16$ in Stanley's Enumerative Combinatorics Vol. 1). Let $p$ be a prime, and let $A$ be the matrix $A = \left[\binom{j+k}{k} \right]_{j,k = 0}^{p-1}$, taken over the ...
12
votes
0answers
568 views

How to find a total order with constrained comparisons

There are 25 horses with different speeds. My goal is to rank all of them, by using only runs with 5 horses, and taking partial rankings. How many runs do I need, at minumum, to complete my task? As ...
11
votes
0answers
265 views

Determining information in minimum trials (combinatorics problem)

A student has to pass a exam, with $k2^{k-1}$ questions to be answered by yes or no, on a subject he knows nothing about. The student is allowed to pass mock exams who have the same questions as the ...
11
votes
0answers
285 views

How many $n$-element subsets $A$ of $\{1,2,3,\cdots,2n\}$ with specified sum are there?

Question: Let $ n$ be an postive integer number.and let $A=\{x_{1},x_{2},\cdots,x_{n}\}$, How many $ n$-element subsets $ A$ of $ \{1,2,\dots,2n\}$ are there,such ...
10
votes
0answers
198 views

Finding real money on an even stranger weighing device

You have $n$ coins which each weigh either $20$ grams or $10$ grams. Each is labelled from $0$ to $n-1$ so you can tell the coins apart. You have one weighing device as well. At the first turn you ...
10
votes
0answers
259 views

Distributing groups of objects into boxes

How can I enumerate the number of ways of distributing distinct groups of identical objects (but various cardinality) into $k$ boxes such that at most one box is empty $(1)$ and no combination of ...
10
votes
0answers
134 views

Has anyone seen this combinatorial identity involving the Bernoulli and Stirling numbers?

Does anyone know a nice (combinatorial?) proof and/or reference for the following identity? $$\left( \frac{\alpha}{1 - e^{-\alpha}} \right)^{n+1} \equiv \sum_{j=0}^n \frac{(n-j)!}{n!} |s(n+1, ...
10
votes
0answers
163 views

On the maximum number of polynomials in a certain subspace

I've already asked this question on mathoverflow, but no one answered. So I put this problem also here. Sorry for that. Let $\mathbb F_q$ be a finite field and let $e, k$ be positive integers with ...
10
votes
0answers
471 views

Minimal time gossip problem

The gossip problem (telephone problem) is an information dissemination problem where each of $n$ nodes of a communication network has a unique piece of information that must be transmitted to all the ...
10
votes
0answers
172 views

Reconstruction Conjecture and Partial 2-trees

Reconstruction conjecture says that graphs (with at least three vertices) are determined uniquely by their vertex deleted subgraphs. This conjecture is five decades old. Searching relevant ...
9
votes
0answers
213 views

Different notions of q-numbers

It seems that most of the literature dealing with q-analogs defines q-numbers according to $$[n]_q\equiv \frac{q^n-1}{q-1}.$$ Even Mathematica uses this definition: with the built-in function QGamma ...
8
votes
0answers
129 views
+50

Maximum integer not in $\{ ax+by : \gcd(a,b) = 1 \land a,b \ge 0 \}$

Ryan asked about a variation of the coin problem, which was whether for any coprime natural numbers $x,y$ every sufficiently large natural number is $ax+by$ for some coprime natural numbers $a,b$. ...
8
votes
0answers
98 views

number of factorizations of distinct factors

Let $n = p_1^{e_1} p_2^{e_2} \cdots p_k^{e_k}$ an integer with $p_i$ prime and $e_i \in \mathbb N$. The prime factorization can assumed to be known, i.e. we already know $p_1,\ldots,p_k$ and $e_1 , ...
8
votes
0answers
128 views

How many different paths to reach $(p,q,r)$ from $(0,0,0)$ without intersection

Problem: In $\mathbb{Z}^3$ starting from $(0,0,0)$ we try to reach $(p,q,r)$ with a sequence of moves. In each step we make a move from a point to another point under following conditions: You can ...
8
votes
0answers
126 views

To what extent is it possible to generalise a natural bijection between trees and $7$-tuples of trees, suggested by divergent series?

In the paper "Seven Trees In One" by Andreas Blass, a "very explicit" bijection is found between trees and 7-tuples of such trees. The idea to construct such a bijection stems from looking at some ...
8
votes
0answers
132 views

Specializations of elementary symmetric polynomials

Let $\mathcal{S}_{x}=\{x_{1,},x_{2},\ldots x_{n}\}$ be a set of $n$ indeterminates. The $h^{th}$elementary symmetric polynomial is the sum of all monomials with $h$ factors \begin{eqnarray*} ...
8
votes
0answers
244 views

Extracting an (almost) independent large subset from a pairwise independent set of Bernoulli variables

Let $n>1$, and let $X_1,X_2, \ldots ,X_n$ be non-constant random variables with values in $\lbrace 0,1 \rbrace$. Let us say that a subset of variables $X_{i_1},X_{i_2}, \ldots,X_{i_d}$ is complete ...
8
votes
0answers
494 views

How strong is the statement that Thompson F is amenable?

Justin Moore's proof turned out to have an error I just attended Justin Moore's talk on this today. Since I am neither a group theorist nor a combinatorist, and is not familiar with ultrafilters I ...
8
votes
0answers
166 views

How to prove that my sum coincides with a sequence on the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences?

I have a topological space $X$ whose reduced $\bmod 2$ Betti numbers (that is to say, the dimension of the $\bmod 2$ reduced homology) I computed to be $$\small \dim \tilde{H}_t(X; {\mathbb{Z}}_2) = ...
8
votes
0answers
366 views

Counting ordered tuples with an additional condition

Let $a_1 \le a_2 \le ... \le a_n$ be positive integers. I'm looking for a closed formula of the number $f(a_1,...,a_n)$ of all (ordered) tuples $(x_1,...,x_n)$ of positive integers statisfying $$x_1 ...
7
votes
0answers
79 views

A matrix with a dense submatrix - application of Chernoff’s Inequality

I am trying to solve an exercise from this book, which I will post here for convenience. I have a bit of a problem understanding how the hint of using Chernoff's bound implies the claim. Specifically ...
7
votes
0answers
63 views

Arrange Relatively Prime Numbers in a Circle

The question: In how many ways can you arrange the numbers $1$ to $8$ in a circle so that neighboring numbers are relatively prime? Can you generalize for $1$ to $n$? It's fairly easy to list ...
7
votes
0answers
86 views

In how many ways can the integers from $1$ to $n$ be divided into two groups with the same sum?

In how many ways can the integers $1,2,\ldots,n$ be divided into two groups with the same sum? I have tried calculating some of these values for small $n$, but cannot seem to find a pattern. Any ...
7
votes
0answers
55 views

Number of paths of a certain type in a triangular array

Consider the $X_n$ set of finite integer sequences $(x_1, \ldots, x_{n})$ of length $n$ for which $x_1 = 0$ and $|x_k - x_{k+1}| = 1$ for each $k \in \{1, \cdots, n-1 \}$. Obviously $|X_n| = 2^{n-1}$. ...
7
votes
0answers
75 views

Showing that poset of set of supports of a vector space is semimodular

Let $W$ be a subspace of the vector space $\mathbb{K}^n$, where $\mathbb{K}$ is a field of characteristic $0$. The support of a vector $v = (v_1,\ldots, v_n) \in \mathbb{K}^n$ is given by ...
7
votes
0answers
185 views

How to maximize the number of operations in process

In my research project I have encountered the following problem, concerning a tuple of words in the formal language $L=\{0,1\}^*$, with $\epsilon$ denoting the empty word. If we are given an ordered ...
7
votes
0answers
121 views

Check whether a polynomial ideal is prime in the power series ring

I would like to know whether the ideal $I = \langle y^{2}(y^{2}-x^{2}) + w^{7}, y^{2}(y^{4}-x^{4}) + z^{7}\rangle$ is prime in $\mathbb{C}[[x,y,z,w]]$, the ring of formal power series in the ...
7
votes
0answers
205 views

Number of sets of vertices whose union of neighbours contains exactly $k$ vertices

Suppose a bipartite graph $g$ consisting of $2n(n-1),n\in\Bbb N,n>1$ vertices, is divided equally into two colors: red and blue, and is constructed as follows: For example, $g$ for $n=3$: If ...
7
votes
0answers
192 views

Number of ways to express a binary number in a certain way

So I'm working on a problem where I get to a point where I have to count the number of solutions to an equation or at least find a decent upper bound to be used in an estimate I need later. The ...
7
votes
0answers
45 views

Need a feedback on my solution (logic) of the combinatorial problem which involves ordinary deck of cards

So, here is the problem: An ordinary deck of 52 playing cards is randomly divided into 4 piles of 13 cards each. Compute the probability that each pile has exactly 1 ace. My solution: $$\frac { {4 ...
7
votes
0answers
158 views

Infinite sum involving $q$-adic representations of whole numbers and $q$-factorial numbers

Let $q \in \mathbb{N}_{\geq 2}$. For $n \in \mathbb{N}_0$, let $$\mathrm{fac}_q(n) := \prod_{i=1}^n (1+q+\dots+q^{i-1}) = \prod_{i=1}^n \frac{q^i-1}{q-1}$$ be the $q$-factorial of $n$. In particular, ...
7
votes
0answers
148 views

Knight's metric: ellipse and parabola.

Knight's metric is a metric on $\mathbb{Z}^2$ as the minimum number of moves a chess knight would take to travel from $x$ to $y\in\mathbb{Z}^2$. What does a parabola (or an ellipse) became with this ...
7
votes
0answers
114 views

Generalization of Gray codes

A friend of mine asked me if it was possible - physical difficulties aside - to generate all 32 combinations of raised/lowered fingers by changing status of a fixed number of fingers at every step. ...
7
votes
0answers
175 views

Rotations of a tetrahedron

Let $P$ be a tetrahedron inside an sphere such that all of its vertices are on the surface of the sphere. Suppose that three quarters of sphere's surface is colored black. Show that there is a ...
7
votes
0answers
176 views

The right way to motivate lattice theory in a combinatorics class

I am attending a course on combinatorics. I was asked to present Möbius functions on lattices for this course. I was trying to look for a simple non-trivial problem that illustrates the need for ...
7
votes
0answers
194 views

Citation for subset complement result

Let $S = \{s_1, \ldots, s_n\} \subset \{1, \ldots, 2n\}$. Consider two operations on $S$, unfortunately both called complement in different setting: let $A(S) = \{1, \ldots, 2n\} \setminus S$ (set ...
7
votes
0answers
144 views

Characterization of Sequences with Integral Binomial Coefficients

For any sequence of positive integers $\{ a_i \}_{i \ge 1}$ we can define the generalized binomial coefficients $\binom{n}{k}_{a}$ as follows: $$m!_a = a_1 a_2 \cdots a_m, \binom{n}{k}_a = ...
7
votes
0answers
208 views

Combinatorial Proofs of Real Analysis Identity

In this question,a proof using real analysis is given of the following identity: $$ \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{(n-1)!}{n \prod_{i=1}^{n} (a+i)} = \sum_{k=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{(a+k)^2}$$ Is there a ...
7
votes
0answers
441 views

Is there a Steiner system S(6,9,45)?

Background: the Belgian Lottery switched its main game this year to a draw of 6 balls out of a pool of 45, plus a bonus number which doesn't matter for the sake of this question. Assuming someone ...
7
votes
0answers
166 views

A variation on the Look and Say Sequence and some questions about it.

For information on the sequence mentioned in the title, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look-and-say_sequence. This is an original problem. Suppose instead of "describing" the numbers in a string in ...
7
votes
0answers
164 views

Calculating $\sum_{y=0}^x \Pr[Y= y] \Pr[Z\leq k-y]^2$ when Y,Z are binomially distributed?

Remark: I recently rewrote this post, hoping to get answers! I am analyzing the following experiment: Pick an $x \in \{0,\ldots,2k\}$ uniformly at random Pick $(2k+1)$-bit bitstring $b_1=(u,v_1)$ ...
7
votes
0answers
261 views

A sequence similar to the Catalan numbers

The $n$-th Catalan number $c_n$ has the closed form $\frac1{n+1}\binom{2n}{n}$ and follows the recursion $c_n = \sum\limits_{i = 0}^{n-1} c_{n-1-i}c_i$ I am interested in the quantity $e_n$ which ...
7
votes
0answers
236 views

Lucky chance or combinatorial cause?

Consider an $n \times 1 - $rectangle where the $n$ squares are numbered $1$ to $n$. Cover this rectangle with white squares $a$, black squares $b$ and dominoes $dd$. To each covering of the rectangle ...
7
votes
0answers
347 views

Number of possible crosswords

I was staring at my crossword this morning when I had this question: How many possible arrangement of grid squares are there in an $N\times N$ crossword, provided we impose certain constraints? I take ...