Show Summary Details

p. 72. Four types of problemlocked

  • Robin Wilson

Abstract

‘Four types of problem’ explains that combinatorics is concerned with four types of problem: existence problems (does x exist?); construction problems (if x exists, how can we construct it?); enumeration problems (how many x are there?); and optimization problems (which x is best?). Existence problems discussed include tilings, placing dominoes on a chess board, the knight’s tour problem, the Königsberg bridges problem, the Gas–Water–Electricity problem, and the map-colour problem. Construction problems include solving mazes, and the two types of enumeration problems considered are counting problems and listing problems. Examples of an optimization problem include the minimum connector problem and the travelling salesman problem. The efficiency of algorithms is also explained.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.