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A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain
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A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain medical experiment with a code consisting of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order. What is the least number of letters that can be used if there are 12 participants, and each participant is to receive a different code? A. 4 B. 5 C. 6 D. 7 E. 8
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Originally posted by sarb on 17 Jun 2012, 04:13.
Last edited by Bunuel on 17 Jun 2012, 04:20, edited 1 time in total.
Edited the question.




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17 Jun 2012, 04:24
sarb wrote: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain medical experiment with a code consisting of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order. What is the least number of letters that can be used if there are 12 participants, and each participant is to receive a different code?
A. 4 B. 5 C. 6 D. 7 E. 8 Say there are minimum of \(n\) letters needed, then; The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be \(C^2_n\) (in alphabetical order); We want \(C^2_n+n\geq{12}\) > \(\frac{n(n1)}{2}+n\geq{12}\) > \(n(n1)+2n\geq{24}\) > \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) > \(n_{min}=5\). Answer: B. Hope it's clear.
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Re: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain
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17 Jun 2012, 04:34



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17 Jun 2012, 04:49
Almost identical question: John has 12 clients and he wants to use color coding to identify each client. If either a single color or a pair of two different colors can represent a client code, what is the minimum number of colors needed for the coding? Assume that changing the color order within a pair does not produce different codes.A. 24 B. 12 C. 7 D. 6 E. 5 The concept is not that hard. We can use combination or trial and error approach. Combination approach:Let # of colors needed be \(n\), then it must be true that \(n+C^2_n\geq{12}\) (\(C^2_n\)  # of ways to choose the pair of different colors from \(n\) colors when order doesn't matter) > \(n+\frac{n(n1)}{2}\geq{12}\) > \(2n+n(n1)\geq{24}\) > \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) > as \(n\) is an integer (it represents # of colors) \(n\geq{5}\) > \(n_{min}=5\). Trial and error approach: If the minimum number of colors needed is 4 then there are 4 single color codes possible PLUS \(C^2_4=6\) twocolor codes > 4+6=10<12 > not enough for 12 codes; If the minimum number of colors needed is 5 then there are 5 single color codes possible PLUS \(C^2_5=10\) twocolor codes > 5+10=15>12 > more than enough for 12 codes. Actually as the least answer choice is 5 then if you tried it first you'd get the correct answer right away. Answer: E. Hope it helps.
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01 Dec 2012, 20:10
Bunnel. Thaks for the reply and merging similar topics. Can u please explain how >= 12 ?



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02 Dec 2012, 14:48
Hi Bunnel
won't this \(C^2_n\) just give you all the pairs available? we need them also ordered....



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23 Dec 2012, 13:22
Bunuel wrote: sarb wrote: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain medical experiment with a code consisting of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order. What is the least number of letters that can be used if there are 12 participants, and each participant is to receive a different code?
A. 4 B. 5 C. 6 D. 7 E. 8 Say there are minimum of \(n\) letters needed, then; The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be \(C^2_n\) (in alphabetical order); We want \(C^2_n+n\geq{12}\) > \(\frac{n(n1)}{2}+n\geq{12}\) > \(n(n1)+2n\geq{24}\) > \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) > \(n_{min}=5\). Answer: B. Hope it's clear. Bunuel, What if the question didn't say 'pair'. If 3 letter combinations were also permitted. How would you express it in Combination formula?
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24 Dec 2012, 00:41
eaakbari wrote: Bunuel wrote: sarb wrote: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain medical experiment with a code consisting of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order. What is the least number of letters that can be used if there are 12 participants, and each participant is to receive a different code?
A. 4 B. 5 C. 6 D. 7 E. 8 Say there are minimum of \(n\) letters needed, then; The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be \(C^2_n\) (in alphabetical order); We want \(C^2_n+n\geq{12}\) > \(\frac{n(n1)}{2}+n\geq{12}\) > \(n(n1)+2n\geq{24}\) > \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) > \(n_{min}=5\). Answer: B. Hope it's clear. Bunuel, What if the question didn't say 'pair'. If 3 letter combinations were also permitted. How would you express it in Combination formula? Practice: try to use the same concept.
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24 Dec 2012, 01:28
Bunuel wrote: Practice: try to use the same concept.
Okay here goes, The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be (in alphabetical order); \(nC2\) The # of Triples of distinct letters codes possible would be (in alphabetical order); \(nC3\) Thus \(nC3 + nC2 + n\) > \(12\) \(n*(n1)/2 + n*(n1)*(n2)/3*2 + n\) > \(12\) Simplifying \(n*(n^2 +5)\) > \(72\) Only sufficient value of \(n = 4\) Is it correct?
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24 Dec 2012, 01:49
eaakbari wrote: Bunuel wrote: Practice: try to use the same concept.
Okay here goes, The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be (in alphabetical order); \(nC2\) The # of Triples of distinct letters codes possible would be (in alphabetical order); \(nC3\) Thus \(nC3 + nC2 + n\) > \(12\) \(n*(n1)/2 + n*(n1)*(n2)/3*2 + n\) > \(12\) Simplifying \(n*(n^2 +5)\) > \(72\) Only sufficient value of \(n = 4\) Is it correct? Correct. Three letters A, B, and C, are enough for 7<12 codes: A; B; C; AB; AC; BC; ABC. Four letters A, B, C, and D are enough for 15>12 codes: A; B; C; D; AB; AC; AD; BC; BD; CD; ABC; ABD; ACD; BCD; ABCD.
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22 Nov 2013, 15:21



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22 Nov 2013, 15:37
Bunuel wrote: ronr34 wrote: Hi Bunnel
won't this \(C^2_n\) just give you all the pairs available? we need them also ordered.... Notice that we are told that letters in the code should be written in alphabetical order. Now, 2Cn gives different pairs of 2 letters possible out of n letters, but since codes should be written in one particular order (alphabetical), then for each pair there will be only one ordering possible, thus the number of codes out of n letters equals to number of pairs out of n letters. Hope it's clear. Hi Bunuel, From n letters we choose the number of pairs, the result will be \(C^2_n\) which may include 2 kinds of pairs (AB) and (BA). Still confused .



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22 Nov 2013, 15:43
yenpham9 wrote: Bunuel wrote: ronr34 wrote: Hi Bunnel
won't this \(C^2_n\) just give you all the pairs available? we need them also ordered.... Notice that we are told that letters in the code should be written in alphabetical order. Now, 2Cn gives different pairs of 2 letters possible out of n letters, but since codes should be written in one particular order (alphabetical), then for each pair there will be only one ordering possible, thus the number of codes out of n letters equals to number of pairs out of n letters. Hope it's clear. Hi Bunuel, From n letters we choose the number of pairs, the result will be \(C^2_n\) which may include 2 kinds of pairs (AB) and (BA). Still confused . Maybe the following example would help. Consider 4 letters {a, b, c, d}. How many 2letter words in alphabetical order are possible? The answer is \(C^2_4=6\): ab; ac; ad; bc; bd; cd.
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25 Nov 2013, 04:38
Bunuel wrote: sarb wrote: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain medical experiment with a code consisting of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order. What is the least number of letters that can be used if there are 12 participants, and each participant is to receive a different code?
A. 4 B. 5 C. 6 D. 7 E. 8 Say there are minimum of \(n\) letters needed, then; The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be \(C^2_n\) (in alphabetical order); We want \(C^2_n+n\geq{12}\) > \(\frac{n(n1)}{2}+n\geq{12}\) > \(n(n1)+2n\geq{24}\) > \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) > \(n_{min}=5\). Answer: B. Hope it's clear. we can take 1,2 and 3 like A, B, C AB, BC ABC Why did you ignored possibility of 3 or 4 alphabets taken together, this will give us 4 letters?
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25 Nov 2013, 04:41
honchos wrote: Bunuel wrote: sarb wrote: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain medical experiment with a code consisting of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order. What is the least number of letters that can be used if there are 12 participants, and each participant is to receive a different code?
A. 4 B. 5 C. 6 D. 7 E. 8 Say there are minimum of \(n\) letters needed, then; The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be \(C^2_n\) (in alphabetical order); We want \(C^2_n+n\geq{12}\) > \(\frac{n(n1)}{2}+n\geq{12}\) > \(n(n1)+2n\geq{24}\) > \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) > \(n_{min}=5\). Answer: B. Hope it's clear. we can take 1,2 and 3 like A, B, C AB, BC ABC Why did you ignored possibility of 3 or 4 alphabets taken together, this will give us 4 letters? Please read the question carefully: a code consists of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order.
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Re: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain
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25 Nov 2013, 04:47
Lets take A B C D A B C D AB AC AD BC BD CD ABC BCA CBA It is alphabetical and all letter for a particular codes are different.
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25 Feb 2014, 08:57
Bunuel wrote: sarb wrote: A researcher plans to identify each participant in a certain medical experiment with a code consisting of either a single letter or a pair of distinct letters written in alphabetical order. What is the least number of letters that can be used if there are 12 participants, and each participant is to receive a different code?
A. 4 B. 5 C. 6 D. 7 E. 8 Say there are minimum of \(n\) letters needed, then; The # of single letter codes possible would be \(n\) itself; The # of pair of distinct letters codes possible would be \(C^2_n\) (in alphabetical order); We want \(C^2_n+n\geq{12}\) > \(\frac{n(n1)}{2}+n\geq{12}\) > \(n(n1)+2n\geq{24}\) > \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) > \(n_{min}=5\). Answer: B. Hope it's clear. I have a questions here: How did we get from \(n(n+1)\geq{24}\) to \(n_{min}=5\)




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