I have this code to find all the permutations of a set of letters that form legal words.

Module[{str = "abc", chars, len, r, check},
 chars = Characters[str];
 len = StringLength[str];
 r = Range[len];
 check[n_Integer] := 
    StringJoin[chars[[UnrankPermutation[n, r]]]]}, 1];
 DistributeDefinitions[check, chars, r];
 ParallelTable[check[i], {i, 1, len!}]]

I've verified that, if I replace ParallelTable with Table, I get this:

{{}, {}, {}, {"cab"}, {}, {}}

With ParallelTable, however, in addition to that result, I also get warnings like these:

Part::pspec: Part specification Combinatorica`UnrankPermutation[1,{1,2,3}] is neither a machine-sized integer nor a list of machine-sized integers.

Part::pspec: Part specification Combinatorica`UnrankPermutation[2,{1,2,3}] is neither a machine-sized integer nor a list of machine-sized integers.

StringJoin::string: String expected at position 1 in StringJoin[{a,b,c}[[Combinatorica`UnrankPermutation[1,{1,2,3}]]]].

StringJoin::string: String expected at position 1 in StringJoin[{a,b,c}[[Combinatorica`UnrankPermutation[2,{1,2,3}]]]].

These warnings seem to come from kernel 7 and higher. My guess is that the computation reaches those kernels and there isn't any data left, since there are only 6 permutations, and causes them to spit out those warnings.

Is my understanding correct? How do I prevent these warnings?

  • $\begingroup$ I think >> should be <<. $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Mar 14, 2013 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


Add UnrankPermutation to DistributeDefinitions:

DistributeDefinitions[check, chars, r, UnrankPermutation];
  • $\begingroup$ Is this because UnrankPermutation comes from the Combinatorica package and isn't a built-in? $\endgroup$
    – Ashley
    Mar 14, 2013 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. Using Get (<<) loads the definitions in the Combinatorica package. Any you want to use in parallel should have their definitions distributed. $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Mar 14, 2013 at 15:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Better use ParallelNeeds["Combinatorica`"]. $\endgroup$ Mar 14, 2013 at 20:37

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