Ball-and-urn

Revision as of 23:02, 19 June 2013 by Jayjayliu (talk | contribs)

The ball-and-urn technique, also known as stars-and-bars, is a commonly used technique in combinatorics.

It is used to solve problems of the form: how many ways can one distribute $k$ indistinguishable objects into $n$ bins? We can imagine this as finding the number of ways to drop $k$ balls into $n$ urns, or equivalently to drop $k$ balls amongst $n-1$ dividers. The number of ways to do such is ${n+k-1 \choose k}$.

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