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Topic: Permutations & Combinations
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jan 9, 2005 5:49 PM

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Kevin Karplus

Posts: 190
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Permutations & Combinations
Posted: Jan 9, 2005 5:49 PM
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In article <>, Jerry Beeler wrote:
> I've been teaching 9th grade math for so long that ... well ... I think that
> Christ was a teen when I started.
> In any case, I'm now faced with some high level math and need a little help.
> I need a good, easy-to-understand explanation of "combinations" versus
> "permutations" with some example(s).
> Do 'appreciate it.

You can have a group of distinct kids and a (same number) group of distinct
tasks (roles in a play, positions on a baseball team, ...). The number of
different ways the kids can be assigned tasks is a permutation.

You can have a group of n distinct kids and have to choose a committee
of k members (k <= n). The number of ways the committee can be chosen
is a combinations "n choose k".

There should be hundreds of examples in any book on applied discrete math,
as combinatorics is usually a chapter or two in such books.

Kevin Karplus
Professor of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz
Undergraduate and Graduate Director, Bioinformatics
(Senior member, IEEE) (Board of Directors, ISCB)
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