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Painting without Numbers: Different ways to view ‘Different’ Colourings

Painting without Numbers: Different ways to view ‘Different’ Colourings

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Richard Gault. Originally submitted for MSci in Mathematics and Computer Science , with lecturer Dr. Thomas Huettemann in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Richard Gault. Originally submitted for MSci in Mathematics and Computer Science , with lecturer Dr. Thomas Huettemann in the category of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
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07/16/2014

 
 
Painting without Numbers:
Different ways to view ‘Different’
Colourings
 
 
1
 Abstract 
‘Given an
 
grid of squares how many ‘different’ colourings can be obtained using
 
colours?’
The focus within the investigation is on the term
different 
. If we consider a grid of squares whichhave been coloured, it can be rotated, reflected and manipulated in various ways to produce newcoloured grids. These may not look the same as the original grid but can it really be described asdifferent?The discussion begins by considering combinatorial techniques and the Principle of Inclusion andExclusion before moving on to investigate Pólya theory in order to count the number of distinctgrids. Results from Group theory in particular the Cauchy-Frobenius The
orem (or Burnside’
s Lemma)and P
ólya’s Enumeration Theorem, alon
g with its weighted form, have been used to calculate thenumber of 
different 
colourings of an object that can occur under the action of a permutation group.Solutions have been found to the question presented based on a variety of interpretations of theterm
different 
.
Pólya’s Enumeration Theorem was first introduced to provide a method of enumerating chemical
isomers. It has also aided in the research of Graph theory and Tournament theory. The weighted
form of Pólya’s Enumeration Theorem has been used to calculate the number of distinct (non
-isomorphic) graphs which can be constructed. A tournament can be thought of as a completeoriented graph, where each pair of nodes is connected by a link with a unique direction. Pólya theorycan count the number of non-isomorphic (or
different 
) tournaments there are containing at leasttwo nodes. It has also been used in Clinical and Medical research crossover trials, where subjects arerequired to complete a sequence of medical treatments. However it is not uncommon for subjects todrop out of these trials before the sequence is complete. Pólya theory has made it feasible toevaluate systems which have been designed to monitor the robustness of crossover trials for dropout subjects. In Computer Science, tree structures are used for many purposes such as therepresentation of data which can facilitate searching algorithms with ease. Pólya theory can beutilised to calculate the number of 
different 
-ary trees.The interpretation of the term
different 
was mainly centred on the comparison of objects after theyhad been coloured. We can permute the question to consider how constraints on how an object iscoloured can allow for the use of 
different 
colours depending on specified rules. This requires furtherresearch which would incorporate the investigation of Latin Squares. An academic timetable issimply a grid of squares
coloured 
with classes. Ideally no student or staff member should have aclash in their timetable. This work suggests how Pólya theory might be used to calculate the numberof 
different 
timetables that can be constructed containing no clashes. The results mentioned in thiswork can lead to investigations of more abstract collections of objects rather than the geometricallypleasing grid of squares.This work is suitable for readers with knowledge of Combinatorics, Group theory and Pólya theory.
 
2
Table of Contents
...................................................................................................... 15A Different Application ..................................................................................................................... 17(G) Applying Weights to Colourings ................................................................................................ 18The Weighted Pólya Theorem .......................................................................................................... 19(H) Applications of Pólya Theory .................................................................................................... 21Chemistry .......................................................................................................................................... 21Clinical and Medical Trials ................................................................................................................. 21Mathematics: Graph Theory ............................................................................................................. 22Mathematics: Tournaments ............................................................................................................. 22Computer Science: Trees .................................................................................................................. 23Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 24Suggestions for Future Research ...................................................................................................... 24Bibliography .......................................................................................................................................... 25

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