Hey There,

It's been a while since we've taken any time to look at any formal systems or number systems (all the way back to **The M I U Puzzle, **so today we're going to kick off a quick beginner post that is, somewhat **Linux** and **Unix** independent(although we'll be scripting and using **Linux/Unix** tools to do this work for us in future posts). It's going to segue into something more complicated in a future post, but, for today, we're just going to lay the groundwork. In fact, the beginnings of this process will seem almost brain-dead simple. Which is okay, because they pretty much are ;)

Our topic for today, and for all the follow-ups, is going to be: **Number Pools and Guaranteed Combinations within Fixed Strings.**

We'll adhere to the following definitions (Followed by our **Objective**):**Number Pool:** A pool of unique numbers of any given amount spanning any given start and end numeric parameters.**Fixed List:** A string of numbers of no more than the total number of numbers in the Number Pool and not containing any duplicate numbers.**Fixed List Length:** The number of numbers in our Fixed List. **Guaranteed Combination:** A combination of unique numbers (restricted to the members of the Fixed List we've defined) with a minimum member count of 1 and a maximum member count of the total number of numbers in our Fixed String.**Guaranteed Combination Length:** The number of numbers in our Guaranteed Combination.

**Our Objective:** Given a **Number Pool** of "**x through y**," create the maximum possible **Fixed List Length** variations of our **Fixed List** that contain some variation of our **Guaranteed Combination**, without any duplication (i.e. 1, 2, 3 is equal to 2, 3, 1 and would only count as one match), and return the results.

Hopefully, that didn't sound too convoluted or complicated. It's not. Here's what we'll do to prove that very quickly.**1.** Our **Number Pool** for today will be defined as: 1-5 (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).**2.** Our **Fixed List** will be: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5**3.** This gives us a **Fixed List Length** of 5.**4.** Our **Guaranteed Combination**, will be: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5**5.** This gives us a **Guaranteed Combination Length** of 5.

So, the question before us is: Given a Number Pool of "**1, 2, 3, 4, 5**," what are the maximum possible variations of the 5 digit Fixed List "**1, 2, 3, 4, 5**" that we can create which will contain our Guaranteed Combination, without any duplication? (and, remember, this post is just to get you started thinking about the theory we'll put into practice later)

Simple deduction will lead you to this answer, since there can be only one correct answer (Which, in a sense, is true of larger systems, as well) and our variables are equal. Our result would be 1 variation:**1, 2, 3, 4, 5** <-- Note that the list **5, 4, 2, 1, 3** would be equal and would also be a correct answer, but would not count as an additional variation since it is made up of numbers duplicated from the original variation of **1, 2, 3, 4, 5**.

Think about this for a while. It's a good exercise for your head :) In future posts we'll be looking at different variable expansions and the number theory behind generating these sort of lists (For example, a **Number Pool** of "**1 through 99**" with a **Fixed String** of "**1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18, 20, 33, 47, 56, 68, 77, 87, 93**" and a **Guaranteed Combination** of "**1, 4, 6, 47, 68**" - There will be a lot more strings to produce given these circumstances, which is where **Linux** or **Unix** scripting, as mentioned above, will help tremendously). Of course, we'll attack each individual part separately before combining them all into one equation (which will actually be somewhat simpler, but I guess that's a matter of opinion ;)

Cheers,

, Mike

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