2009 AIME I Problems/Problem 10


The Annual Interplanetary Mathematics Examination (AIME) is written by a committee of five Martians, five Venusians, and five Earthlings. At meetings, committee members sit at a round table with chairs numbered from $1$ to $15$ in clockwise order. Committee rules state that a Martian must occupy chair $1$ and an Earthling must occupy chair $15$, Furthermore, no Earthling can sit immediately to the left of a Martian, no Martian can sit immediately to the left of a Venusian, and no Venusian can sit immediately to the left of an Earthling. The number of possible seating arrangements for the committee is $N \cdot (5!)^3$. Find $N$.

Solution 1

Since the 5 members of each planet committee are distinct we get that the number of arrangement of sittings is in the form $N*(5!)^3$ because for each $M, V, E$ sequence we have $5!$ arrangements within the Ms, Vs, and Es.

Pretend the table only seats $3$ "people", with $1$ "person" from each planet. Counting clockwise, only the arrangement M, V, E satisfies the given constraints. Therefore, in the actual problem, the members must sit in cycles of M, V, E, but not necessarily with one M, one V, and one E in each cycle(for example, MMVVVE, MVVVEEE, MMMVVVEE all count as cycles). These cycles of MVE must start at seat $1$, since an M is at seat $1$. We simply count the number of arrangements through casework.

1. The entire arrangement is one cycle- There is only one way to arrange this, MMMMMVVVVVEEEEE

2. Two cycles - There are 3 Ms, Vs and Es left to distribute among the existing MVEMVE. Using stars and bars, we get $\binom{4}{1}=4$ ways for the members of each planet. Therefore, there are $4^3=64$ ways in total.

3. Three cycles - 2 Ms, Vs, Es left, so $\binom{4}{2}=6$, making there $6^3=216$ ways total.

4. Four cycles - 1 M, V, E left, each M can go to any of the four MVE cycles and likewise for V and E, $4^3=64$ ways total

5. Five cycles - MVEMVEMVEMVEMVE is the only possibility, so there is just $1$ way.

Combining all these cases, we get $1+1+64+64+216= \boxed{346}$

Solution 2

The arrangements must follow the pattern MVEMVE....... where each MVE consists of some Martians followed by some Venusians followed by some Earthlings, for $1, 2, 3, 4,$ or $5$ MVE's. If there are $k$ MVE's, then by stars and bars, there are ${4 \choose k-1}$ choices for the Martians in each block, and the same goes for the Venusians and the Earthlings. Thus, we have $N = 1^3+4^3+6^3+4^3+1^3 = \boxed{346}$ - aops5234


You are probably confused by the solutions. I was too when I first read them. Here is the intuition: Consider the the arrangement of the $M$'s $V$'s and $E$'s: $MMMMM$ | $VVVVV$ | $EEEEE$. Now, we can place a bar in the first Martian's section in $4$ spots, and same with the Venusians and Earthlings. Now for instance, $MM|M|MM$ || $V|V|VVV$ || $EEE|E|E$ would represent the table ordering MMVEEE MVE MMVVVE, which is a valid ordering. Hence we proceed with the solution and we are done.


Video Solution



See also

2009 AIME I (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 9
Followed by
Problem 11
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
All AIME Problems and Solutions

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