Module for set partitions
Author scheinerman
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Updated Last
1 Year Ago
Started In
June 2016


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Module for set partitions. We define a Partition to be a wrapper around the DisjointUnion type defined in the DataStructures module, but with a bit more functionality.

New: We also include IntegerPartition too! (See below.)

Partition Constructor

A new Partition is created by specifying the ground set. That is, if A is a Set{T} (for some type T) or an IntSet, then Partition(A) creates a new Partition whose ground set is A and the parts are singletons.

julia> using ShowSet
WARNING: Method definition show(Base.IO, Base.Set) ...
WARNING: Method definition show(Base.IO, Base.IntSet) ...

julia> using SimplePartitions

julia> A = Set(1:10)

julia> P = Partition(A)

The parameter to Partition may also be a list (one-dimensional array) or a positive integer n, in which case a partition of the set {1,2,...,n} is created.

Construct from a set of sets

If S is a set of sets then PartitionBuilder(S) creates a new partition whose parts are the sets in S. The sets in S must be nonempty and pairwise disjoint.

Construct from a Permutation

If p is a Permutation, then Partition(p) creates a new partition whose parts are the cycles of p.

Construct from a Dict

If d is a dictionary, the Partition(d) creates a new partition whose elements are the keys of d in which two elements a and b are in the same part if and only if d[a] == d[b].


  • num_elements(P): returns the number of elements in the ground set of P.
  • num_parts(P): returns the number of parts in P.
  • parts(P): returns the set of the parts in this partition.
  • collect(P) returns a one-dimensional array containing the parts.
  • ground_set(P): returns (a copy of) the ground set of P.
  • in(a,P): test if a (element) is in the ground set of P.
  • in(A,P): test if A (set) is a part of P.
  • merge_parts!(P,a,b): Modify P by merging the parts of P that contain the elements a and b. This may also be called with a list for the second argument: merge_parts!(P,[a,b,...]).
  • in_same_part(P,a,b): returns true if a and b are in the same part of P.
  • find_part(P,a): returns the set of elements in P that are in the same part as a.


  • join(P,Q) returns the join of partitions P and Q. This can also be invoked as P+Q or as P∨Q.
  • meet(P,Q) returns the meet of the partitions. This can also be invoked as P*Q or as P∧Q.
  • P+x where P is a partition and x is a new element creates a new partition in which x is added as a singleton.
  • P+A where P is a partition and A is a set of elements (that are disjoint from the elements already in P) creates a new partition by adding A as a part.


  • P==Q determines if P and Q are equal partitions.
  • P<=Q determines if P is a refinement of Q. That is, we return true if each part of P is a subset of a part of Q. Note that P and Q must have the same ground set or else an error is thrown. The variants P<Q, P>=Q, and P>Q are available with the expected meanings. Calling refines(P,Q) is the same as P<=Q.

Generating all partitions of a set

  • all_partitions(A::Set) creates a Set containing all possible partitions of A.
  • all_partitions(n::Int) creates a Set containing all possible partitions of the set {1,2,...,n}.

Both of these take an optional second argument k to specify that only partitions with exactly k parts should be returned.


Note: Sets are nicely displayed here because we invoked using ShowSet.

julia> A = Set(["alpha", "bravo", "charlie", "delta", "echo"])

julia> P = Partition(A)

julia> merge_parts!(P,"alpha", "bravo")

julia> merge_parts!(P,"echo", "bravo")

julia> merge_parts!(P,"charlie", "delta")

julia> P

julia> Q = Partition(A);

julia> merge_parts!(Q,"alpha", "echo")

julia> merge_parts!(Q,"delta","alpha")

julia> Q

julia> P+Q

julia> P*Q

Integer Partitions

The type IntegerPartition represents a partition of an integer. These can be constructed either from a one-dimensional array of integers or as individual arguments:

  • IntegerPartition([a,b,c,...]) or
  • IntegerPartition(a,b,c,...)


  • parts(P) returns a list containing the parts.
  • sum(P) returns the sum of the parts.
  • num_parts(P) returns the number of parts.
  • Ferrers(P) prints a Ferrer's diagram of P.
  • conj(P) or P' returns the Ferrer's conjugate of P
  • P+Q returns the concatenation of P and Q:
julia> P = IntegerPartition(2,2,4)

julia> Q = IntegerPartition(5,2,1)

julia> P+Q

To do list

  • Create RandomPartition(n) [and RandomPartition(Set)].