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Notes on Introductory Combinatorics

  • Textbook
  • © 2010


  • An affordable new softcover edition of a classic text
  • Comprehensive introductory overview of combinatorics
  • Homework exercises and examinations included, making the book useful in courses
  • Results serve as a basis for applications in computer science
  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: Modern Birkhäuser Classics (MBC)

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About this book

"This is a delightful little paperback which presents a day-by-day transcription of a course taught jointly by Pólya and Tarjan at Stanford University. Woods, the teaching assistant for the class, did a very good job of merging class notes into an interesting mini-textbook; he also included the exercises, homework, and tests assigned in the class (a very helpful addition for other instructors in the field). The notes are very well illustrated throughout and Woods and the Birkhäuser publishers produced a very pleasant text.

One can count on [Pólya and Tarjan] for new insights and a fresh outlook. Both instructors taught by presenting a succession of examples rather than by presenting a body of theory…[The book] is very well suited as supplementary material for any introductory class on combinatorics; as such, it is very highly recommended. Finally, for all of us who like the topic and delight in observing skilled professionals at work, this book is entertaining and, yes, instructive, reading." Mathematical Reviews (Review of the original hardcover edition)

"The mathematical community welcomes this book as a final contribution to honour the teacher G. Pólya." Zentralblatt MATH (Review of the original hardcover edition)


  • Eulerian paths
  • Hamiltonian paths
  • Pólya's theory of counting
  • Ramsey theory
  • Stirling numbers
  • combinations
  • generating functions
  • permutations
  • combinatorics
  • algorithm analysis and problem complexity


From the reviews:

“The purpose of this re-publication was to make modern classics books like this one remain accessible to new generations of students, scholars and researchers.” (Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1195, 2010)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanford University Dept. Mathematics, Stanford, USA

    George Pólya

  • Princeton University Dept. Computer Science, Princeton, USA

    Robert E. Tarjan

  • Google, Inc., Mountain View, USA

    Donald R. Woods

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Notes on Introductory Combinatorics

  • Authors: George Pólya, Robert E. Tarjan, Donald R. Woods

  • Series Title: Modern Birkhäuser Classics

  • Publisher: Birkhäuser Boston, MA

  • Copyright Information: Birkhäuser Boston 2010

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-0-8176-4952-4Published: 17 November 2009

  • Series ISSN: 2197-1803

  • Series E-ISSN: 2197-1811

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XII, 192

  • Number of Illustrations: 125 b/w illustrations

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