Category Archives: proof

A combinatorial proof: counting bad functions

In a previous post we derived the following expression: . We are trying to show that , in order to show that starting with a sequence of consecutive th powers and repeatedly taking successive differences will always result in . … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: functions and matchings

We’re trying to prove the following equality (see my previous post for a recap of the story so far): In particular we’re trying to show that the two sides of this equation correspond to two different ways to count the … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: the story so far

In my last post I reintroduced this seemingly odd phenomenon: Start with consecutive integers and raise them all to the th power. Then repeatedly take pairwise differences (i.e. subtract the first from the second, and the second from the third, … Continue reading

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A combinatorial proof: reboot!

More than seven years ago I wrote about a curious phenomenon, which I found out about from Patrick Vennebush: if you start with a sequence of consecutive th powers, and repeatedly take pairwise differences, you always end up with , … Continue reading

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PIE: proof by counting

Recall the setup: we have a universal set and a collection of subsets , , , and so on, up to . PIE claims that we can compute the number of elements of that are in none of the (that … Continue reading

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PIE: proof by algebra

In my previous post I stated a very formal, general form of the Principle of Inclusion-Exclusion, or PIE.1 In this post I am going to outline one proof of PIE. I’m not going to give a completely formal proof, because … Continue reading

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Efficiency of repeated squaring: another proof

In my previous post I proved that the “binary algorithm” (corresponding to the binary expansion of a number ) is the most efficient way to build using only doubling and incrementing steps. Today I want to explain another nice proof, … Continue reading

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