math
posted by doug on .
from agroup of 18 kids how many ways can you choose a group of 4 to do a project

The number of ways is denoted (18,4), pronounced as "18 choose 4".
Basically, we would choose the first one from 18, second from 17,....
Since the choices are independent, the number of choices are multiplied together to get 18*17*16*15.
However, since the order of choices is not important, we have overcounted by 4*3*2*1 times, so the result should be divided by this factor, so
(18,4)=18*17*16*15/(1*2*3*4)
=(18!/14!)/4!
=18!/(14!4!)
where 18! means factorial 18.
In the general case,
(m,k)=m!/((mk)!k!)