2000 AIME II Problems/Problem 5

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Problem

Given eight distinguishable rings, let $n$ be the number of possible five-ring arrangements on the four fingers (not the thumb) of one hand. The order of rings on each finger is significant, but it is not required that each finger have a ring. Find the leftmost three nonzero digits of $n$.

Solution

There are $\binom{8}{5}$ ways to choose the rings, and there are $5!$ distinct arrangements to order the rings [we order them so that the first ring is the bottom-most on the first finger that actually has a ring, and so forth]. The number of ways to distribute the rings among the fingers is equivalent the number of ways we can drop five balls into 4 urns, or similarly dropping five balls into four compartments split by three dividers. The number of ways to arrange those dividers and balls is just $\binom {8}{3}$.

Multiplying gives the answer: $\binom{8}{5}\binom{8}{3}5! = 376320$, and the three leftmost digits are $\boxed{376}$.