# Questions tagged [co.combinatorics]

Enumerative combinatorics, graph theory, order theory, posets, matroids, designs and other discrete structures. It also includes algebraic, analytic and probabilistic combinatorics.

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### Possible orders of products of 2 involutions which interchange disjoint residue classes of the integers

Definition / Question
Definition: Let $r(m)$ denote the residue class $r+m\mathbb{Z}$, where
$0 \leq r < m$.
Given disjoint residue classes $r_1(m_1)$ and $r_2(m_2)$, let the class transposition
$...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

596 views

### Positivity of the alternating sum of indices for boolean interval of finite groups

Let $G$ be a finite group and $H$ a subgroup such that the interval $[H,G]$ is a boolean lattice.
Let $L_1, \dots , L_n$ be the maximal subgroups of $G$ containing $H$.
Let the alternative sum ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

312 views

### Constructing a generating function using a series with all negative and positive powers of a variable

Trying to count certain combinatorial structures, I arrived at a construction of their generating function through a very inconvenient procedure.
I realize that anybody who will read this has right ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

228 views

### Is the top interval of a finite distributive lattice, a boolean lattice?

Let $(L,\wedge,\vee)$ be a finite distributive lattice, and let $1$ its greatest element.
An element $a \in L$ is called maximal if $a \le a' < 1$ implies $a = a'$.
Let $b$ be the meet of all the ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

195 views

### Relating face polytopes of permutohedra to integer partitions

The OEIS entries A019538, A049019, and A133314, relate a refinement of the face polynomials of the permutohedra (A049019) to partition polynomials (A133314) defined by multiplicative inversion of an ...

**77**

votes

**10**answers

11k views

### Why do Bernoulli numbers arise everywhere?

I have seen Bernoulli numbers many times, and sometimes very surprisingly. They appear in my textbook on complex analysis, in algebraic topology, and of course, number theory. Things like the criteria ...

**99**

votes

**4**answers

5k views

### What do the stable homotopy groups of spheres say about the combinatorics of finite sets?

The Barratt-Priddy-Quillen(-Segal) theorem says that the following spaces are homotopy equivalent in an (essentially) canonical way:
$\Omega^\infty S^\infty:=\varinjlim~ \Omega^nS^n$
$\mathbb{Z}\...

**38**

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**17**answers

10k views

### Linear Algebra Proofs in Combinatorics?

Simple linear algebra methods are a surprisingly powerful tool to prove combinatorial results. Some examples of combinatorial theorems with linear algebra proofs are the (weak) perfect graph theorem, ...

**53**

votes

**4**answers

12k views

### What is a chess piece mathematically?

Historically, the current "standard" set of chess pieces wasn't the only existing alternative or even the standard one. For instance, the famous Al-Suli's Diamond Problem (which remained open for more ...

**39**

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**15**answers

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### Strengthening the Induction Hypothesis

Suppose you are trying to prove result $X$ by induction and are getting nowhere fast. One nice trick is to try to prove a stronger result $X'$ (that you don't really care about) by induction. This ...

**60**

votes

**7**answers

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### Identifying poisoned wines

The standard version of this puzzle is as follows: you have $1000$ bottles of wine, one of which is poisoned. You also have a supply of rats (say). You want to determine which bottle is the poisoned ...

**101**

votes

**7**answers

6k views

### Is the set $ AA+A $ always at least as large as $ A+A $?

Let $A$ be a finite set of real numbers. Is it always the case that $|AA+A| \geq |A+A|$?
My first instinct is that this is obviously true, and there is a one-line proof which I am foolishly ...

**29**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### How does this relationship between the Catalan numbers and SU(2) generalize?

This is a question, or really more like a cloud of questions, I wanted to ask awhile ago based on this SBS post and this post I wrote inspired by it, except that Math Overflow didn't exist then.
As ...

**44**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Collapsible group words

What is the length $f(n)$ of the shortest nontrivial group word $w_n$ in $x_1,\ldots,x_n$ that collapses to $1$ when we substitute $x_i=1$ for any $i$?
For example, $f(2)=4$, with the commutator $[...

**51**

votes

**17**answers

8k views

### Generalizations of the Four-Color theorem

The four color theorem asserts that every planar graph can be properly colored by four colors.
The purpose of this question is to collect generalizations, variations, and strengthenings of the four ...

**51**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Which region in the plane with a given area has the most domino tilings?

I just finished teaching a class in combinatorics in which I included a fairly easy upper bound on the number of domino tilings of a region in the plane as a function of its area. So this led to ...

**34**

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**21**answers

4k views

### Generalizations of Planar Graphs

This is a follow up to Harrison's question: why planar graphs are so exceptional. I would like to ask about (and collect answers to) various notions, in graph theory and beyond graph theory (topology; ...

**32**

votes

**18**answers

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### Interesting and Accessible Topics in Graph Theory

This summer, I will be teaching an introductory course in graph theory to talented high school seniors. The intent of the course is not to establish proficiency in graph theory, per se. Rather, I hope ...

**53**

votes

**4**answers

7k views

### Connectivity of the Erdős–Rényi random graph

It is well-known that if $\omega=\omega(n)$ is any function such that $\omega \to \infty$ as $n \to \infty$, and if $p \ge (\log{n}+\omega) / n$ then the Erdős–Rényi random graph $G(n,p)$ is ...

**43**

votes

**4**answers

6k views

### Verifying the correctness of a Sudoku solution

A Sudoku is solved correctly, if all columns, all rows and all 9 subsquares are filled with the numbers 1 to 9 without repetition. Hence, in order to verify if a (correct) solution is correct, one has ...

**22**

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**5**answers

3k views

### Complete graph invariants?

Obviously, graph invariants are wonderful things, but the usual ones (the Tutte polynomial, the spectrum, whatever) can't always distinguish between nonisomorphic graphs. Actually, I think that even a ...

**36**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Does there exist a comprehensive compilation of Erdos's open problems?

Fan Chung and Ron Graham's book Erdos on Graphs: His Legacy of Unsolved Problems (A. K. Peters, 1998) collects together all of Erdos's open problems in graph theory that they could find into a single ...

**26**

votes

**3**answers

4k views

### Is the sum $\sum\limits_{j=0}^{k-1}(-1)^{j+1}(k-j)^{2k-2} \binom{2k+1}{j} \ge 0?$

I am trying to prove $\sum\limits_{j=0}^{k-1}(-1)^{j+1}(k-j)^{2k-2} \binom{2k+1}{j} \ge 0$. This inequality has been verified by computer for $k\le40$.
Some clues that might work (kindly provided by ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Number of vectors so that no two subset sums are equal

Consider all $10$-tuple vectors each element of which is either $1$ or $0$. It is very easy to select a set $v_1,\dots,v_{10}= S$ of $10$ such vectors so that no two distinct subsets of vectors $S_1 \...

**46**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### Is there an “elegant” non-recursive formula for these coefficients? Also, how can one get proofs of these patterns?

Not sure if this is a "good" question for this forum or if it'll get panned, but here goes anyway...
Consider this problem. I've been trying to find a formula to expand the "regular iteration" of "...

**31**

votes

**6**answers

4k views

### What is known about this plethysm?

Let $S^{\lambda}$ be a Schur functor. Is there a known positive rule to compute the decomposition of $S^{\lambda}(\bigwedge^2 \mathbb{C}^n)$ into $GL_n(\mathbb{C})$ irreps?
In response to Vladimir's ...

**35**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Placing numbers $1,2,\ldots,n^3$ in a cube so that numbers of any two adjacent unit subcube are coprime

This is a question first I asked in SE but since there was no suggestion or solution, I decide to put it here.
Consider an $n\times n \times n$ Cube containing $n^3$ unit cubes. Is it possible to ...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Partitions to different parts not exceeding $n$

Consider the polynomial $(1+x)(1+x^2)\dots (1+x^n)=1+x+\dots+x^{n(n+1)/2}$, which enumerates subj. How to prove that it's coefficients increase up to $x^{n(n+1)/4}$ (and hence decrease after this)? Or ...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Is there a finite family of functions such that the max of any two functions can be dominated by a third?

Is it true that for every $t$ there is an $n$ and there exists a finite function
family, $\cal F$, whose members are from $[n] \to \mathbb N$ (taking all different
values) and for any $f_1, \ldots, ...

**25**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Is the matrix $\left({2m\choose 2j-i}\right)_{i,j=1}^{2m-1}$ nonsingular?

Suppose we have a $(2m-1) \times (2m-1)$ matrix defined as follows:
$$\left({2m\choose 2j-i}\right)_{i,j=1}^{2m-1}.$$
For example, if $m=3$, the matrix is
$$\begin{pmatrix}6 & 20 & 6& 0 ...

**22**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### True by accident (and therefore not amenable to proof)

The graph reconstruction conjecture claims that (barring trivial examples) a graph on n vertices is determined (up to isomorphism) by its collection of (n-1)-vertex induced subgraphs (again up to ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Combinatorics of the Stasheff polytopes

First a little background for those unaware. The Stasheff polytopes (or associahedra) are certain convex polytopes that arise in the theory of $A_\infty$-algebras. There is one polytope for each $n\...

**37**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### How close can one get to the missing finite projective planes?

This question can be interpreted as an instance of the Zarankiewicz problem. Suppose we have an $n\times n$ matrix with entries in $\{0,1\}$ with no $\begin{pmatrix}1 & 1\\ 1& 1\end{pmatrix} $ ...

**34**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### How hard is reconstructing a permutation from its differences sequence?

My interest in combinatorially motivated computational problems led me to search for simple problems that turn out to be computationally hard. In this pursuit, I came up with a problem which I hope is ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

733 views

### Rearrangements that never change the value of a sum

I posted this question on math.stackexchange.com and so far the only answer posted (also mentioned in the comments under the question) shows that one of my rash initial guesses about the bottom-line ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Products of Conjugacy Classes in S_n

The conjugacy classes of the permutation group $S_n$ are indexed by partitions like $[6]$ and $[2,2,2] = [2^3]$ describing the cycle type. What happens when you take products of two whole conjugacy ...

**14**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Where on the internet I can find database of graphs?

I am studying graph algorithms.
I need database of graphs on which I can test my algorithms.
Where can I find reliable database of graphs of all kinds?
Thanks!

**14**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### A general formula for the number of conjugacy classes of $\mathbb{S}_n \times \mathbb{S}_n$ acted on by $ \mathbb{S}_n$

$\def\S{\mathbb{S}}$ Dear all,
So I have $\S_n$ acting on $\S_n \times \S_n$ via conjugacy. That is:
for $g \in \S_n, (x,y) \in \S_n \times \S_n$: $g(x,y) = (gxg^{-1},gyg^{-1}).$
Is there a general ...

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**6**answers

7k views

### Solving NP problems in (usually) Polynomial time?

Just because a problem is NP-complete doesn't mean it can't be usually solved quickly.
The best example of this is probably the traveling salesman problem, for which extraordinarily large instances ...

**21**

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**2**answers

2k views

### Calculating Mayer-Vietoris efficiently

This is a question whose motivation and framing seem to involve a lot of topology, but which I suspect comes down to some simple and standard combinatorics that's probably recorded in a book somewhere....

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### mixing convex and concave for convexity

Let $n\in\mathbb{N}$ and $0<x<1$ be a real number. Is the following a convex function of $x$?
$$G_n(x)=\log\left(\frac{(1+x^{4n+1})(1+x^{4n-1})(1+x^{2n})(1-x^{2n+1})}{(1+x^{2n+1})(1-x^{2n+2})}\...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### A congruence involving binomial coefficients

The following open problem was shown to me by Maxim Kontsevich. I
state it in a different but equivalent form. Let $a(n)$ be the sequence
at http://oeis.org/A131868, that is,
$$ a(n) =\frac{1}{2n^2}\...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### A geometric series equalling a power of an integer

The following problem cropped up whilst considering generalised quadrangles with a product structure, and it boils down to a simple number theoretic problem. Let $s$ be an integer greater than 2 and ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

382 views

### A Product Related to Unrestricted Partitions

Start with the product for unrestricted partitions:
$(1+x+x^2+...)(1+x^2+x^4+...)(1+x^3+x^6+...)...$
Now replace some of the plus signs with minus signs and expand the product into a series. Is it ...

**27**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### In what rigorous sense are Sperner's Lemma and the Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem equivalent?

I understand that one can give a proof of each of these propositions assuming the truth of the other. But this seems a bit squishy to me, since there is a trivial sense in which any two true theorems ...

**27**

votes

**9**answers

3k views

### Is the empty graph a tree?

This is a boring, technical question that I stumbled upon while making a contribution to Sage. I would still like to hear a constructive answer so hopefully the question does not get closed.
The ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

872 views

### Why are some q-analogues more canonical than others?

It is striking that some q-analogs of functions, operators, identities and especially whole theorems seem quite "canonical", e.g.
the factorial and the q-Gamma function
the basic hypergeometric ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

825 views

### Number of collinear ways to fill a grid

A way to fill a finite grid (one box after the other) is called collinear if every newly filled box (the first excepted) is vertically or horizontally collinear with a previously filled box. See the ...

**14**

votes

**5**answers

866 views

### Eigenvalues of a matrix with entries involving combinatorics

Let $F(n, l, i, j)$ be the cardinality of the set
\begin{eqnarray*}
\{(k_1, \cdots, k_n)\in\mathbb{Z}^{\oplus n}|0\leq k_r\leq l-1\text{ for }1\leq r\leq n\text{, }k_1+\cdots+k_n=lj-i\}.
\end{eqnarray*...

**39**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### How many rearrangements must fail to alter the value of a sum before you conclude that none do?

This will not be altogether unrelated to this earlier question.
For which classes $C$ of bijections from $\{1,2,3,\ldots\}$ to itself is it the case that for all sequences $\{a_i\}_{i=1}^\infty$ of ...