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The Caley distance measures the distance between two permutations (see this question for a definition https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1932991/catalan-number-and-cayley-distance-inequality-in-permutation-group). Mathematica has lots of nice commands for permutations but the Caley distance is not a built-in function. I'm looking for Mathematica code that implements it.

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If I understand correctly the Cayley distance, then

patt = RandomInteger[{0, 9}, 10]
dis = RandomSample @ patt

{3, 5, 5, 0, 1, 7, 7, 0, 7, 2}

{7, 7, 5, 1, 0, 0, 3, 2, 5, 7}

The distance should be the sum of the lengths of the cycles each diminished by one, or in other words the sum of the lengths diminished by the number of cycles; equal to 8 in this case because

perm = FindPermutation[patt, dis]

Cycles[{{1, 7, 2, 3, 9, 10, 8, 6}, {4, 5}}]

The distance is equal to the order of the permutation:

PermutationOrder @ perm

8

As a function:

CayleyDistance[patt_, dis_] := 
 PermutationOrder @ FindPermutation[patt, dis]
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  • $\begingroup$ Nice, I did not know about FindPermutation. $\endgroup$ – Sergio Parreiras Oct 26 '16 at 23:59
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    $\begingroup$ I will tell you a secret, but don't tell anyone: 30 mins ago I also didn't know about it ;) Sometimes having the slightest idea about what you want to achieve allows to browse through the documentation and stumble upon something useful. In this case, I started with Permute. $\endgroup$ – corey979 Oct 27 '16 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ @corey979 -- nice job... this is why stackexchange is one of the best resources for learning Mathematica! $\endgroup$ – bill s Oct 27 '16 at 0:04
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If we want to measure the Caley distance using as inputs two permutations given in Cycle notation:

f[x_, y_] := Module[{z}, 
             z = PermutationProduct[InversePermutation[Cycles[x]],Cycles[y]][[1]];
               Length[Flatten[z]] - Length[z]]
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