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Quantitative Methods

# Quantitative Methods

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10/28/2015

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## Sections

What is a Combination?

When dealing with permutations, we are concerned principally with the order or sequence in
which things occur. Other problems occur in which we need to calculate the number of
groups of a certain size irrespective of their sequence.

For example, consider the question of how many possible ways there are of choosing a
football team of 11 men from a group of 15 club members. Here there is no question of
putting the team in a particular sequence, but merely the problem of finding the number of
possible different teams. The problem is one of finding the number of combinations of 15
things taken 11 at a time. The symbol for this is 15C11 or 15

C11.

Sometimes you may come across a different symbol,

11

15

However, this means the same thing and they are all read as "fifteen C eleven".

The number of combinations of n things taken r at a time is obviously less than the number of
permutations, because each combination can have r! different arrangements. That gives us
the clue to finding a formula for nCr. There must be r! times as many permutations as there
are combinations and so:

r)!

-

(n

r!

n!

Cr
n

Example:

Afactory has 5 identical production lines. During a certain period, there are only enough
orders to keep 3 lines working. How many different ways of choosing the 3 lines to be worked
are available to the factory manager?

The manager's problem, expressed mathematically, is to find the number of combinations of
5 things taken 3 at a time, that is:

1

2

1

2

3

1

2

3

4

5

)!

3

5(

!
3

!
5

C3

5

Probability 163

Cancelling out as many factors as possible gives:

5C3 5 2 10

As in previous examples, it would be a good idea for you to verify this result by writing out all
the 10 possible combinations.

Equivalent Combinations

If we select 4 items from 7 items, we leave 3 items behind. For every set of 4 that we choose
there must be a set of 3 that we do not choose. It follows that:

the number of combinations we can choose, 7C4 , must equal

the number of combinations that we do not choose, 7C3.

By applying the reasoning to the general case, we get the important fact that:

nCr nCn-r

This is very useful sometimes when one of the calculations may be much easier than the
other. All that this means is that you should cancel out the larger of the two factors in the
denominator, as the following examples will show.

Example 1:

Find the value of 8C5

!
3

!
5

!
8

C5
8

Cancel out the 5! and we get

56

1

2

3

6

7

8

Example 2:

Find the value of 8C3

56

!
5

!
3

!
8

C3

8

which is mathematically the same as Example 1 above.

Note: nCr is also termed a binomial coefficient.

Complications and Restrictions

In some practical problems it is necessary to calculate the number of combinations, subject
to certain restrictions. There are no general rules to cover such cases, and so each one must
be thought out carefully. The arithmetic is no more difficult than that which we have already
done. Here are some further examples, which you should study carefully:

Example 1:

There are 7 clerks in an office.Ateam of 4 clerks is needed for a special checking job. In how
many ways can the team be made up if the longest-serving clerk must be included?

If the longest-serving clerk is put in the team, that leaves us with the problem of finding
another 3 clerks out of 6. So the answer will be:

6C3

which is 20.

164 Probability

Example 2:

In how many ways can the team be made up if the only restriction is that one particular clerk
is not available for this job?

In this case, we have to find the team of 4 from only 6 clerks. The answer is therefore

6C4

which is 15.

Notice that a careful consideration of the restrictions usually enables you to formulate a
slightly different question which can then be answered by the usual kind of calculation.

Now try Questions for Practice 3.

Questions for Practice 3

1. In how many ways can a committee of 5 be chosen from 9 candidates so as to include
both the youngest and the oldest candidate?

2. In how many ways can the committee be formed if the youngest candidate is
excluded?

3. In a bin of 50 items from a cutting machine there are 17 defective items. Calculate the
number of possible different samples of 5 which contain no defectives.

4. Calculate, using the data of the above example, the number of possible samples of 5
items from the cutting machine which contain exactly 1 defective item.

Now check your answers with those given at the end of the unit.

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