02: Combinatorics & Geometry
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Combinatorics is the study of counting, arranging, and selecting discrete objects. It deals with problems that involve combinations, permutations, and the principles of counting. Combinatorics is used in problems, especially involving optimization or enumeration.
A permutation is an arrangement of objects in a specific order. The number of possible permutations of
n objects is
n! (factorial of
A combination is a selection of objects without considering the order. The number of combinations of
n objects taken
r at a time is given by the binomial coefficient: $$C(n, r) = n! / (r! * (n-r)!)$$
Imagine you have a set of distinct objects, like fruits. Let’s say you have a banana, an apple, and an orange. You want to make a fruit salad, but you only have room for two fruits. How many different fruit salads can you make?
In this example, we have 3 objects (
n = 3) and we want to select 2 of them (
r = 2). To calculate the number of possible combinations, we use the binomial coefficient formula: $$C(n, r) = n! / (r! * (n-r)!)$$
In our example,
n = 3 and
r = 2, so the formula becomes:
$$C(3, 2) = 3! / (2! * (3-2)!)$$
Factorials (denoted by the exclamation mark) are a way to multiply a number by all the positive integers less than or equal to that number. For example:
3! = 3 * 2 * 1 = 6 2! = 2 * 1 = 2 1! = 1
Formula becomes $C(3, 2) = 6 / (2 * 1) = 3$
So, there are 3 different fruit salads you can make: banana-apple, banana-orange, and apple-orange.
To summarize, combinations help us count the number of ways to select a certain number of objects from a larger set without considering the order of the objects. The binomial coefficient formula, $C(n, r) = n! / (r! * (n-r)!)$, allows us to calculate the number of possible combinations.
n items are put into
m containers, and
n > m, then at least one container must contain more than one item. This principle is often used to prove the existence of a solution.
Inclusion-Exclusion Principle: This principle is used to count the number of elements in the union of several sets. It helps avoid overcounting by considering the intersections of the sets.
Imagine you have two groups of students. Group A has 30 students who like pizza, and Group B has 20 students who like burgers. However, 10 students like both pizza and burgers.
Now, you want to find out how many students like either pizza or burgers.
You might think of adding the number of students who like pizza to the number of students who like burgers:
30 + 20 = 50. But this would overcount the students who like both pizza and burgers because they are counted twice.
This is where the Inclusion-Exclusion Principle comes in. It helps us avoid overcounting by considering the intersections of the sets. The principle states that to find the total number of students who like either pizza or burgers, we should subtract the number of students who like both pizza and burgers from the sum of students in Group A and Group B:
Total students = Students in Group A + Students in Group B - Students in both groups
In our example:
Total students =
30 (Group A) + 20 (Group B) - 10 (both) = 40
So, 40 students like either pizza or burgers.
In general, the Inclusion-Exclusion Principle can be extended to more than two sets. It involves including the number of elements in each set, then subtracting the number of elements in each pair of sets’ intersection, adding back the number of elements in each triple of sets’ intersection, and so on.
In summary, the Inclusion-Exclusion Principle helps us count the number of elements in the union of several sets by considering the intersections of the sets and avoiding overcounting.
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