[R] create matrices with constraint

John McKown john.archie.mckown at gmail.com
Mon Dec 15 16:23:11 CET 2014

On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM, Kathryn Lord <kathryn.lord2000 at gmail.com>

> Dear all,
> Suppose that I have natural numbers 1 through 28.
> Based on these numbers, choose 4 numbers 7 times without replacement and
> make a 4 by 7 matrix, for example,
​After a relaxing weekend, it came to me that these 4x7 matrices are really
just a subset of all the possible permutations of the vector 1:28, recast
as  4x7 matrices. Of course, there are factorial(28) (about 3*10^29 ) such
4x7 matrices. But given your constraints, I think that these can be
subsetted to only those permutations in which the values in each row are
sorted in ascending (or descending) order. I am fairly certain that this
subset would be exhaustive for your purposes. I not really certain how big
that subset would be. I think it would be 1/168th ( 1 out of 7*factorial(4)
) of the 3*10^29 permutations, or about 1.8*10^27. Which is still way to
big to actually instantiate all at once. You might be able store such a
thing in a huge data base. If you're lucky, you have access to a massive
supercomputer so that you can get the results before the heat death of this
universe. (exaggeration?)

Two R libraries seems to address this. One is combinat. The other is
permute.​ The permute library seems, to me, to be the more likely
candidate. It contains a "how()" function which __appears to me__ to
perhaps be a way to subset the permutations as they are being generated.
But all that I get from reading the documentation is a bad headache. I
never studied combinatorics. And I got a milder headache trying to read the
Wikipedia article on it.

​I am curious about what you will do with such a set of matrices, once you
have them. If you are permitted to say.

While a transcendent vocabulary is laudable, one must be eternally careful
so that the calculated objective of communication does not become ensconced
in obscurity.  In other words, eschew obfuscation.

Maranatha! <><
John McKown

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