Partitions

May 11, 2012

The partitions of an integer is the set of all sets of integers that sum to the given integer. For instance, the partitions of 4 is the set of sets ((1 1 1 1) (1 1 2) (1 3) (2 2) (4)). We computed the number of partitions of an integer in a previous exercise. In today’s exercise, we will make a list of the partitions.

The process is recursive. There is a single partition of 0, the empty set (). There is a single partition of 1, the set (1). There are two partitions of 2, the sets (1 1) and (2). There are three partitions of 3, the sets (1 1 1), (1 2) and (3). There are five partitions of 4, the sets (1 1 1 1), (1 1 2), (1 3), (2 2), and (4). There are seven partitions of 5, the sets (1 1 1 1 1), (1 1 1 2), (1 2 2), (1 1 3), (1 4), (2 3) and (5). And so on. In each case, the next-larger set of partitions is determined by adding each integer x less than or equal to the desired integer n to all the sets formed by the partition of nx, eliminating any duplicates.

Your task is to write a function that generates the set of all partitions of a given integer. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.

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