Chapter 5 project: Combinatorics formulas

Topics: Permutations, sets, unordered lists, ordered lists

Turn in:

  • Locate all source files that you've updated for the lab (.hpp, .h, and/or .cpp).
  • Upload these files to Canvas. Do not zip them.

Group work: Group work is allowed for the labs, but each person must do their own coding and each person must turn in an assignment. Copying other peoples' code / code files is not allowed. Copied assignments will receive 0% for everybody involved.



For this project, you will use any programming language that you're comfortable with to implement simple programs that will compute Permutations, Sets, Ordered Lists, and Unordered Lists.

Each of these should be implemented in a function that takes n and r as input variables, and gives the result as the return value.

We will work on this assignment during class.



For each of these n is the amout of choices, and r is the amount of items being selected.

  • Ordered list: nr
  • Unordered list: C(r + n - 1, r)
  • Permutation: P(n, r) = (n!)/(n-r)!
  • Set: C(n, r) = (n!)/(r! (n-r)!)


Maximum values

Depending on the language you're using, the data type of your variables, and the machine's architecture, there will be different maximum values.

For example, in C++ on the computers in the lab, the largest signed integer it can store is 2,147,483,647. Therefore, the largest factorial it can calculate is 12! = 479,001,600. The result of 13! is 6,227,020,800, which is too big.

This is fine, don't worry about the limits, but keep it in mind while testing.


Math in programming

Most languages require a library to use operations like exponents, and you will have to implement your own factorial function.




#include <cmath>

int main()
    // Get 2^3:
    double result = pow( 2, 3 );

    return 0;


import static java.lang.Math.pow;

public class Program
    public static void main()
        double result = Math.pow(2, 3);


using System;

namespace Example
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            Console.WriteLine(Math.Pow(2, 3));



# get 2^3:
result = 2 ** 3


You can implement the factorial function using iteration or recursion. Here are some examples:

C++, Iterative:

int Factorial(int n)
    for (int i = n - 1; i > 0; i--)
        n *= i;
    return n;

C++, Recursive:

int Factorial( int n )
    if ( n == 0 ):
        return 1;
    return n * Factorial( n-1 );


def Factorial( n ):
    if ( n == 0 ):
        return 1
    return n * Factorial( n-1 )



function Permutation:
    inputs: n (int), r (int)
    return: int
    return the value: n! / (n-r)!

function Combination:
    inputs: n (int), r (int)
    return: int
    return the value: n! / (r! * (n-r)!)

function OrderedList:
    inputs: n (int), r (int)
    return: int
    return the value: n^r

function UnorderedList:
    inputs: n (int), r (int)
    return: int
    return: Combination( r+n-1, r )
function MainProgram:
    quit = False
    while quit is not True:
        Display menu to user: 
            1. Permutation, 
            2. Combination, 
            3. Ordered List
            4. Unordered List
            5. Quit
        Ask the user what their selection is.
        If the user selected 5, quit. Otherwise...
        Ask the user for n
        Ask the user for r
        If the user selected 1, call Permutation and display the result.
        If the user selected 2, call Combination and display the result.
        If the user selected 3, call Ordered List and display the result.
        If the user selected 4, call Unordered List and display the result.