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A flag is to be made with six vertical stripes by using colours yellow, blue, green and red in such a way that no two adjacent stripes should have the same colour. In how many ways is this possible? How could I compute this with Mathematica?

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Wrong site - you most likely want – Yves Klett Jun 21 '14 at 17:08
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a homework question that has nothing to do with Mathematica. – bobthechemist Jun 21 '14 at 17:17
I have edited this question to make it acceptable to this site. I did so because I would like it to be reopened. I think Bob Hanlon's answer is worth preserving. – m_goldberg Jun 21 '14 at 22:19
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As has been calculated by combinatorial considerations there will be 4*3^5 =972 flags. This can be done with Mathematica (as small enough for brute force):

tu = Tuples[Table[{Yellow, Blue, Green, Red}, {6}]];
dtu = DeleteCases[tu, {___, x_, x_, ___}];

yields 972. (as has been pointed out by eldo this is essentially as per Bob Hanlon)

The flags can be visualized:

flag[u_] := 
 Graphics[MapThread[{#1, Rectangle[{#2, 0}, {#2 + 1, 4}]} &, {u, 
GraphicsGrid[Partition[flag /@ dtu, 27], Frame -> All, 
 ImageSize -> 800]

enter image description here

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Where is the difference to Bob Hanlon's answer (except that you show more flags) ? – eldo Jun 23 '14 at 11:27
@eldo I agree eldo, in retrospect, that I should have read BobHanlon's answer properly and apologize. One minor point of difference is using the "colors" it facilitates visualization. I am sorry. If you wish I can delete or perhaps more appropriately attribute to Bob Hanlon. – ubpdqn Jun 23 '14 at 11:49
I would write something like: "Based upon BH's answer ..." :) – eldo Jun 23 '14 at 11:57
@eldo thank you eldo I have edited to answer (as well as appropriately upvoting Bob Hanlons) – ubpdqn Jun 23 '14 at 11:59

EDITED and CORRECTED to vertical stripes

Allowing that fewer than four colors can be used, then the first stripe can be any of the four colors and each subsequent stripe can be any of the three colors other than the last color used.



Alternate approach

colors = {yellow, blue, green, red} // Sort;

(flags1 = DeleteCases[Tuples[colors, {6}], {___, x_, x_, ___}]) // Length


toColors = Thread[colors -> {Blue, Green, Red, Yellow}];

Examples from flags1

  Graphics[Thread[{flags1[[#]] /. toColors, 
       Table[Rectangle[{n - 1, 0}, {n, 6/GoldenRatio}], {n, 6}]}], 
     ImageSize -> 100] & /@ Range[9], 3] // Grid

enter image description here

If all four colors must be used

(flags2 = Select[flags1, Union[#] == colors &]) // Length


Examples from flags2

  Graphics[Thread[{flags2[[#]] /. toColors, 
       Table[Rectangle[{n - 1, 0}, {n, 6/GoldenRatio}], {n, 6}]}], 
     ImageSize -> 100] & /@ Range[9], 3] // Grid

enter image description here

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I think it should be mentioned that sorting the list of colors is only necessary for finding flags2. – m_goldberg Jun 21 '14 at 22:09
I still don't see any flag though. I want the flag! :p – Öskå Jun 21 '14 at 22:28
Sample flags added. – Bob Hanlon Jun 22 '14 at 5:55
I feel compelled to point out that the OP asked for vertical stripes. – m_goldberg Jun 22 '14 at 8:52
@m_goldberg try setting your $HeadOrientationRelativeToScreen variable to -π/2 :) – gpap Jun 22 '14 at 11:06

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