One of the most interesting mathematical stuff is Combination. A combination is a way of selecting members from a grouping, such that the order of selection does not matter (unlike permutation).

For example, assume that we have 6 balls (numbered from 1 to 6), and a person can select only 4 balls at a time.

Can you write a JavaScript function that can get all the possible 4 ball selections from the available 6 balls?

According to Combination, all the possible 4 ball selections from the 6 balls are (6 Choose 4) which equal to 15. The formula is very simple: `n C r = n! / r! n-r!`

.

Now, let’s use recursion in order to get all the possible combinations.

var Util = function() {
};
Util.getCombinations = function(array, size, start, initialStuff, output) {
if (initialStuff.length >= size) {
output.push(initialStuff);
} else {
var i;
for (i = start; i < array.length; ++i) {
Util.getCombinations(array, size, i + 1, initialStuff.concat(array[i]), output);
}
}
}
Util.getAllPossibleCombinations = function(array, size, output) {
Util.getCombinations(array, size, 0, [], output);
}

As shown in `Util.getAllPossibleCombinations`

, it takes five parameters as follows:

1. `array`

parameter represents the array of objects that we have.

2. `size`

parameter represents the size of every selection from the array.

3. `start`

parameter represents the current start index.

4. `initialStuff`

parameter represents a temp array that holds every possible combination.

5. `output`

parameter represents the array that holds all the possible arrays of combinations.

In order to know all the possible 4 balls selections from the available 6 balls, you can call the API simply as follows:

// Create an array that holds numbers from 1 ... 6.
var array = [];
for (var i = 1; i <= 6; ++i) {
array[i - 1] = i;
}
var output = [];
// Select only 4 balls out of the 6 balls at a time ...
Util.getAllPossibleCombinations(array, 4, output);
console.log(output);

In the console, you will find all the possible 15 combinations as follows:

[[1, 2, 3, 4], [1, 2, 3, 5], [1, 2, 3, 6], [1, 2, 4, 5], [1, 2, 4, 6], [1, 2, 5, 6], [1, 3, 4, 5], [1, 3, 4, 6], [1, 3, 5, 6], [1, 4, 5, 6], [2, 3, 4, 5], [2, 3, 4, 6], [2, 3, 5, 6], [2, 4, 5, 6], [3, 4, 5, 6]]

Tags:
javascript