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Combinatorics

Invariance, Monovariance and Colouring 10 Jan 2008 Invariance. Problems that involve a repeated process or repeated transformation with a quantity that remains constant under the transformation may make use of the invariance principle. It is usually used to show that a certain end state cannot be reached, as a result of the invariant quantity. Heres a classic example: Example 1. Prove that an 88 chessboard with two diagonally opposite corner squares removed cannot be tiled completely by 21 dominoes. The proof to this problem becomes apparent once we realise that every 21 domino would cover exactly one black square and one white square. The property that remains invariant, in this case, would be the difference between the number of black squares and white squares. When tackling combinatorial problems that make use of the invariance principle, some quantities to consider are the sums, differences or modulos involved. Sometimes, it may be useful to use colouring together with invariance. The above example is a straight-forward case of this technique. Monovariance. This concept is not very different from invariance, except that we now look out for a quantity that changes in one particular direction with each transformation or repetition. For example, we may look out for sums that keep increasing (or decreasing) with each transformation. It is useful for showing that a process will eventually end after a nite number of repetitions. Example 2. (Russia 1961) A rectangular mn array of real numbers is given. Whenever the sum of the numbers in any row or column is negative, we may switch the signs of all the numbers in that row or column, from negative to positive or vice versa. Prove that if we repeat this operation, eventually all the row and column sums will be nonnegative. Here, we let Ri denote the sum of all entries in row i and C j denote the sum of all entries in column j. The quantity we consider is m Ri . If we choose a row such that its row i=1 sum is negative, and switch the sign of all its numbers, then certainly m Ri will ini=1 crease. If we choose a column such that its column sum is negative, and switch the sign of all its numbers, then n C j will increase and hence m Ri will also increase, since j=1 i=1 n C j = m Ri . The quantity m Ri is therefore monovariant under each transforj=1 i=1 i=1 mation. After a nite number of steps, however, this quantity cannot increase further, because it cannot exceed m n |ai j |. This means that at some point, no further i=1 j=1 switching can be done, so all row sums and column sums must be non-negative. Note that in some problems, both an invariant and a monovariant may simultaneously exist. Also, the invariant/monovariant may not be immediately obvious; you may be required to articially construct these quantities. Colouring. Colouring problems come in many different forms. In this session we will look at how colouring may be used with invariance or monovariance to achieve an elegant solution to some problems.

Prepared by Ho Jun Wei SIMO National Team Training

THE PROBLEMS 1. Is it possible to pack a 101010 box completely with 250 114 bricks? 2. (St. Petersburg 2003) Several positive integers are written on a board. One can erase any two distinct numbers and write their greatest common divisor and lowest common multiple instead. Prove that eventually the numbers will stop changing. 3. On a faraway planet, Mystique, there are only 45 inhabitants. At the start, 10 of them belonged to the Houdini tribe, 15 belonged to the Blaine tribe and 20 belonged to the Coppereld tribe. However, each time two creatures from different tribes met, they would always decide to forsake their own tribes and join the third tribe instead. Is there a chance that after some time, all the inhabitants will eventually belong to the same tribe? 4. (Frog Problem) Some number of frogs are squatting on a row of 2009 lily pads in a pond. Each minute, if there are two frogs on the same lily pad, and this pad is not at either end of the row, the two frogs may jump to adjacent lily pads, in opposite directions. If two or more frogs are on the lily pads at the two extreme ends, they remain squatting there. Prove that after some time, the frogs will stop jumping. 5. There are n red points and n blue points in a given plane, such that no three points are collinear. Prove that there is a way to connect each red point to a blue one with a line segment, such that no two line segments intersect. 6. A 20092009 board is completely lled with either +1 or -1 in each of its cells. We let Ri denote the product of all the entries in row i and C j denote the product of all the entries in column j. Prove that the sum 2009 (Ri +Ci ) will never be equal i=1 to zero. 7. (Russia 1995) There are three boxes of stones. Sisyphus moves stones one by one between the boxes. Whenever he moves a stone, Zeus gives him the number of coins that is equal to the difference between the number of stones in the box the stone was put in, and that in the box the stone was taken from (before the stone was moved). If this difference is negative, then Sisyphus returns the corresponding amount to Zeus (if Sisyphus cannot pay, generous Zeus allows him to make the move and pay later). After some time all the stones lie in their initial boxes. What is the greatest possible earning of Sisyphus at that moment? 8. (IMO 1986 Problem 3) To each vertex of a regular pentagon an integer is assigned in such a way that the sum of all the ve numbers is positive. If three consecutive vertices are assigned the number x, y, z respectively and y < 0, then the following operation is allowed: the numbers x, y, z are replaced by x + y, y, z + y respectively. Such an operation is performed repeatedly as long as at least one of the ve numbers is negative. Determine whether this procedure necessarily comes to an end after a nite number of steps.