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Incidence Matrix. We usually set up an incidence matrix to denote the relationship between two sets of objects, {x1 , x2 , . . . , xm } and {y1 , y2 , . . . , yn }. We will construct an m n matrix, and ll each cell, ai j (1 i m and 1 j n), with a 1 to denote a positive relation and 0 to denote a negative relation. For instance, for a problem that involves a certain number of contestants participating in a competition with 10 problems, we might want to consider setting a matrix with rows a1 , a2 , . . . , an representing the n contestants and columns P1 , P2 , . . . , P10 corresponding to the 10 problems. We ll a cell on row i, column j with 1 if contestant ai solved problem Pj , and 0 if he/she didnt. This will enable us to apply double counting, as we can count row sums and column sums separately. If the question states conditions such as every contestant solved exactly two problems, then we know that by considering row sums, the total number of 1s should be 2n. This is useful, as it tells us that there are 2n 1s distributed amongst 10 columns. If there are conditions such as between every pair of contestants, they solved exactly one question in common, then we may want to count column pairs, which is the number of pairs of 1s within a column. For instance, if there are 5 1s in a particular column, there will be 5 column pairs. The total number of column 2 pairs, by the given condition, should thus be n . Some problems will require us to 2 consider the number of column pairs or row pairs, and nd an upper/lower bound for it. Let ci and r j denote the number of 1s in column i and row j respectively. When ci is constant, the following inequality might be useful: a b a1 b+1 + > + if a b 2 2 2 2 2 From this we can derive that the minimum number of column pairs is achieved when every column has equal number of 1s (or at most a difference of one 1). The maximum number of column pairs, on the other hand, is achieved when the difference between number of 1s in each column is greatest (i.e. concentrate as many 1s within the same column). On the other hand, with Jensens inequality we can also yield the following result which gives a lower bound for the total number of column pairs:

k i=1

ci 2

ci k

2

2n 10

column 2 pairs since ci = ri = 2n. This inequality might give us useful results for certain problems. The incidence matrix is a tool for us to visualise a combinatorial problem in order to deduce further results from the conditions or restrictions set forth in the problem. Now lets try our hand at some problems.

For instance, for the example given above, there will be a minimum of 10

Classroom Problems 1. 8 singers participate in an art festival where m songs are performed. Each song is performed by 4 singers, and each pair of singers performs together in the same number of songs. Determine the minimum value of m. 2. (Baltic Way 2001) A set of 8 problems was prepared for an examination. Each student was given 3 of them. No two students received more than one common problem. What is the largest possible number of students? 3. 17 students took part in a mathematical contest with 9 problems. It is given that every problem was answered correctly by exactly 11 students. Prove that there were two students who, between them, solved all 9 problems. 4. (SMO(S)2001 Round 2) The numbers {1, 2, . . . , n2 } are randomly arranged on a n2 n2 board, such that each number appears exactly n2 times. Prove that there is a row or a column that contains at least n distinct numbers. 5. In a chess club, n people gathered to play chess against each other, as they pleased. No two people played against each other more than once. At the end of the day, it was observed that a total of 3n games had been played. Moreover, if we chose any two players, say A and B, there would be at most one other player who had played with both A and B. Prove that n > 30. 6. (SMO(O)2004 Round 2) Let m, n be integers so that m n > 1. Let F1 , . . . , Fk be a collection of n-element subsets of {1, ..., m} so that Fi Fj contains at most 1 element, 1 i < j k. Show that k m(m 1) n(n 1)

7. (SMO(O)2006 Round 2) Let n be a positive integer. Let S1 , S2 , . . . , Sk be a collection of 2n-element subsets of {1, 2, 3, 4, . . . , 4n 1, 4n} so that Si S j contains at most n elements for all 1 i < j k. Show that k 6(n+1)/2 8. Consider the set A = {1, 2, 3, . . . , 100}. Let S1 , S2 , S3 , . . . , S5n be subsets of A, such that every element of A appears in exactly 4n of these subsets. Prove that there exists i, j, k, such that Si S j Sk = A. 9. (USAMO 1984) A math exam has two papers, where each paper consists of at least one question and both papers have 28 questions altogether. Each pupil attempted 7 questions. Each pair of questions was attempted by just two pupils. Show that one pupil attempted either zero or at least four questions in the rst paper. 10. (China 1994) Given that S = {1, 2, 3, . . . , 10} and A1 , A2 , . . . , Ak are subsets of S satisfying |Ai | = 5 for 1 i k and |Ai A j | 2 for 1 i < j k, nd the maximum value of k. 11. (IMO 2001 Problem 3) Twenty-one girls and twenty-one boys took part in a mathematical competition. It turned out that each contestant solved at most six problems, and for each pair of a girl and a boy, there was at least one problem that was solved by both the girl and the boy. Show that there is a problem that was solved by at least three girls and at least three boys.

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