A derangement (or complete permutation) of a set is a permutation that leaves no element in its original position. The number of derangements of a set with n elements can be computed recursively using this formula:
D(n + 1) = n (D(n) + D(n–1))
Using the principle of inclusion and exclusion, we also get:
Here are some diagrams that represent the derangements of sets with n elements.
3 elements, 2 derangements:
4 elements, 9 derangements:
5 elements, 44 derangements:
The counts are also known as subfactorials, with notation !n.
Derangement formulas from Fred S. Roberts, Applied Combinatorics, Prentice-Hall, 1984.
Designed and rendered on various weekends using Mathematica versions 3.0, 6.0, and 7.0.
© 1996–2022 by Robert Dickau.
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