I'm an artist, many years past my maths a-level - so apologies for any idiocy up front.
At the moment, I'm working with tilings/tessellations of right-angled isosceles triangles. I have two designs, and am currently working out the permutations possible for an eight tile square. Importantly, I'm aiming to find the number of unique possibilities.
With 2 choices and 8 spaces to fill, the simple starting answer would be 2^8 - 256 permutations. But of course it isn't that simple...for a start, there are six different ways to arrange 8 of the tiles to achieve a square
So, the answer grows - potentially to 256 x 6 (1,536).
But then some of these layouts have rotational symmetry - so some of the tiles would not be unique. At this stage I got excited, and thought, well just divide the 256 permutations for each layout by the order of rotational symmetry. So 256/4 + 256/4 + 256/2 + 256 + 256 + 256 = 1,024 unique tilings.
But then I realised that some permutations aren't repeated the same number of times as the order of symmetry (the most obvious example being where all the tiles used are the same type, but there are others involving alternating even & equal numbers of tile type). So 1,024 is little low (if not by much).
I don't really want to have to work through all 256 permutations (in the three layouts which have rotational symmetry...) to figure out which ones are the rotated repeats. So I was wondering if there was a specific area of maths that I should be looking at?
While this specific problem is certainly something I'd like an answer to, I'm keen to gain a better understanding of the area of maths involved - as I'd like to be able to work the same thing out for larger numbers of tiles (and other types of tessellation).
In addition, with the eight tile square, I managed to work out that the number of potential layouts was 6 relatively easily (by drawing them). But as the number of tiles grows, the number layouts will also grow. So I'd like to be able to figure this out too.
Thanks for any pointers/input.