Combinatorics Question Bank

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Combinatorics Question Bank

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You are on page 1of 4

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?

A

A

D

15

100

B

E

24

120

60

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?

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?

A

110 B

118 C

121

D

125 E

132

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?

A

5

B

10

C

20

D

30

E

60

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

2

15 .

b. Find the probability that exactly two husbands sit next to their

wives.

c. Find the probability that no husband sits next to his wife.

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:

r=4

r=3

r=2

r=1

r=0

d=4

d=3

d=2

d=1

d=0

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

pad).

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

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.]

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