The mathematical context of the third story, Small Number and the Basketball Tournament, contains some basic principles of combinatorics. The plot of the story and the closing question are structured in a manner that allows the moderator to introduce the notion of permutations and combinations. Since the numbers used in the story are relatively small, this can be used to encourage the young audience to explore on their own. Mathematics is also present in the background. Small Number and his friends do mathematics after school in the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. He loves playing the game of Set and when he comes home his sister is just finishing her math homework. Small Number and his friend would like to participate in a big half-court tournament, and so on.
For more details see http://mathcatcher.irmacs.sfu.ca/content/small-number
What I’d like to do in these lectures is to give, first, a review of the classical theory of integer partitions, and then to discuss some more recent developments. The latter will revolve around a chain of six papers, published since 1980, by Garsia-Milne, Jeff Remmel, Basil Gordon, Kathy O’Hara, and myself. In these papers what emerges is a unified and automated method for dealing with a large class of partition identities.
By a partition identity I will mean a theorem of the form “there are the same number of partitions of n such that . . . as there are such that . . ..” A great deal of human ingenuity has been expended on finding bijective and analytical proofs of such identities over the years, but, as with some other parts of mathematics, computers can now produce these bijections by themselves. What’s more, it seems that what the computers discover are the very same bijections that we humans had so proudly been discovering for all of those years.
These lectures are intended to be accessible to graduate students in mathematics and computer science.