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Algorithm for combination generator

Posted on 2008-06-12
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Last Modified: 2008-08-28
Hi

I'm wondering if you could give me a hand with an algorithm.

I need to write a algorithm for generating combinations from n number of sets (of integers).

I can write code that will take my fixed number of sets and produce the combinations but Im lost on how I would be able to do this for n number of sets.

I've attached code for generating combinations from a fixed number of sets.

Will appreciate anyones help or guidance.

Thanks
int[] firstSet = new int[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };
        int[] secondSet = new int[] { 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 };
        int[] thirdSet = new int[] { 12, 13, 14 };
        int[] fourthSet = new int[] { 15, 16, 17, 18 };
        int counter = 0;
 
        foreach (int firstSetVariable in firstSet)
        {
            foreach (int secondSetVariable in secondSet)
            {
                foreach (int thirdSetVariable in thirdSet)
                {
                    foreach (int fourthSetVariable in fourthSet)
                    {
                        Response.Write(counter + ": " + firstSetVariable + "," + secondSetVariable + "," + thirdSetVariable + "," + fourthSetVariable + "<br />");
                        counter += 1;
                    }
                }
            }
        }

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Question by:tejs1dhu
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by:Infinity08
ID: 21767339
If n isn't too big, you could make the algorithm recursive ...
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by:tejs1dhu
ID: 21768015
Hi Infinity08

Making this recursive is the aim, however I am not sure how to implement this using C#.  Any ideas?
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Accepted Solution

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Infinity08 earned 250 total points
ID: 21768291
In pseudo code it could look something like this :

        function(n, sets, combination)
            if n is max then print combination
            else
                for every element in the n-th set from sets
                    set the n-th value in the combination to that element
                    call function(n + 1, sets, combination)
                end for
            end else
        end function
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