Accessible to undergraduate students, Introduction to Combinatorics presents approaches for solving counting and structural questions. It looks at how many ways a selection or arrangement can be chosen with a specific set of properties and determines if a selection or arrangement of objects exists that has a particular set of properties.
To give students a better idea of what the subject covers, the authors first discuss several examples of typical combinatorial problems. They also provide basic information on sets, proof techniques, enumeration, and graph theory—topics that appear frequently throughout the book. The next few chapters explore enumerative ideas, including the pigeonhole principle and inclusion/exclusion. The text then covers enumerative functions and the relations between them. It describes generating functions and recurrences, important families of functions, and the theorems of Pólya and Redfield. The authors also present introductions to computer algebra and group theory, before considering structures of particular interest in combinatorics: graphs, codes, Latin squares, and experimental designs. The last chapter further illustrates the interaction between linear algebra and combinatorics. Exercises and problems of varying levels of difficulty are included at the end of each chapter.
Ideal for undergraduate students in mathematics taking an introductory course in combinatorics, this text explores the different ways of arranging objects and selecting objects from a set. It clearly explains how to solve the various problems that arise in this branch of mathematics.