You are on page 1of 4

Combinatorics Worksheet 1

1. How many ways of arranging the letters in BANANA?

2. How many ways are there of writing a 5 letter word:
a. where no two letters are the same?
b. where no two adjacent letters are the same?
3. In how many different ways can I circle letters in the grid shown so that
there is exactly one circled letter in each row and exactly one circled letter
in each column?






4. The well-known Birthday Paradox asks the following question: How

many people do you need in a room such that theres about a 50% chance
that two people share the same birthday?. Show that when there are 23
people, the probability is roughly a half, using:
a. A probabilistic approach.
b. A combinatoric approach.
(Hint: When determining the probability of at least one thing occurring,
its much easier to find the probability of the event never occurring and
subtracting from 1; in this case no one sharing a birthday)
5. An examiner invigilates an exam in which 1500 students are applying for
150 places at a school. The examiner is responsible for invigilating a room
of 25 students. What is the chance that all of them get a place? Use:
a. A probabilistic approach.
b. A combinatoric approach.
6. I have two identical packs of cards. I take each pack and shuffle it
separately, placing them both face down in the table. I then proceed to
play a game of snap with myself (being a mathematician I have no
friends). I compare the top card from each pile, and then compare the
second card from each pile, and so on. What is the probability that I
continue in this way all the way down the piles, and never find an exact
match in the 52 pairs of cards?

Combinatorics Worksheet 2 More Counting Problems

1. How many ways are there of arranging eight different books on a shelf, if:
a. You must keep the four red ones separate?
b. You must keep the four red ones separate but in alphabetical order
by author?
2. How many orderings are there for a deck of 52 cards if all the cards of the
same suit are together? (Note: leave your answer as an expression
involving factorials, as the value is huge!)
3. A hockey team consists of 1 goalkeeper, 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2
forwards. There are 4 substitutes: 1 goalkeeper, 1 defender, 1 midfielder
and 1 forward. A substitute may only replace a player of the same
category e.g.: midfielder for midfielder.
Given that a maximum of 3 substitutes may be used and that there are
still 11 players on the pitch at the end, how many different teams could
finish the game?
110 B
118 C
125 E

4. A postman's sack contains five letters, one each for the five houses in
Cayley Close. Mischievously, he posts one letter through each door
without looking to see if it is the
correct address. In how many different ways could he do this so that
exactly two of the five houses receive the correct letters?

5. The number 916238457 is an example of a nine-digit number which

contains each of the digits 1 to 9 exactly once. It also has the property
that the digits 1 to 5 occur in their natural order, while the digits 1 to 6 do
not. How many such numbers are there?
6. Three married couples sit down at a round table at which there are six
chairs. All of the possible seating arrangements of the six people are
equally likely.
a. Show that the probability that each husband sits next to his wife is

15 .

b. Find the probability that exactly two husbands sit next to their
c. Find the probability that no husband sits next to his wife.

Combinatorics Worksheet 3 Recurrence Relations

1. A rabbit is moving from the top-right corner to the bottom-left corner of a
5 x 5 grid. Each move, the rabbit can hop right, or hop down.
The state can be defined in terms of two variables, the number of
remaining squares right r, and the remaining squares down d. Since the
right and down actions reduce r and d by 1 respectively, the recurrence is
F(r,d) = F(r-1,d) + F(r,d-1), with base cases F(k,0) = F(0,k) = 1 for any k.
Use this information to fill out the table for F values:







2. Recall the frog problem in which a frog has n lily pads in front of it, and can
either hop on each step (onto the next lily pad) or skip (jumping onto
the pad 2 in front of it). Now lets modify the problem such that the Lance
the frog (on performance enhancing drugs) can jump ANY number of lily
pads, including immediately to the end (but the jump must be at least one
a. Form a recurrence relation for the number of ways of getting to the
end when there are n lily pads.
b. By considering the lily pads each as slots, give an equivalent simple
position-to-term formula for the number of ways the frog can get
into the end.
c. Hence, find the number of ways when there are 20 lily pads.
3. You have a bathroom of n by 2 units, and wish to tile it with 2 by 1 tiles.
The diagram below indicates two possible tilings when n = 5. By
considering the possible tilings (i.e. actions) at the end of the bathroom,
form a recurrence relation. Hence find the possible number of

arrangements when n = 10.

4. Twelve people are seated around a circular table. In how many ways can
six pairs of people engage in handshakes so that no arms cross? (Nobody
is allowed to shake hands with more than one person at once). [Hint:
Focus on the possible actions of one particular person, and how this
divides the table into 2 smaller but similar problems]
5. A set of positive integers is defined to be wicked if it contains no three
consecutive integers. We count the empty set, which contains no elements
at all, as a wicked set. Find the number of wicked subsets of the set {1, 2,
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10}.
[Hints: Let your state be where youre considering the next available
number to include (starting at 10 and going down), and make a key
property of the state that you havent used the number immediately prior
to the state (i.e. weve reset a potential run). Your actions are whether
you include the next number in the set or not. But remember that for each
action (or sequences of actions), each need to end up in a state where a
run of consecutive numbers has been reset.]