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The factorial of a whole number , written as [1] or ,[2] is found by multiplying by all the whole numbers less than it. For example, the factorial of 4 is 24, because . Hence one can write . For some technical reasons, 0! is equal to 1.[3]

Factorials can be used to find out how many possible ways there are to arrange objects.[3]

For example, if there are 3 letters (A, B, and C), they can be arranged as ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, and CBA. That is be 6 choices because A can be put in 3 different places, B has 2 choices left after A is placed, and C has only one choice left after A and B are placed. In other words, choices.

The factorial function is a good example of recursion (doing things over and over), as can be written as , which can be written as and finally as . Because of this, can also be defined as ,[4] with [3]

The factorial function grows very fast. There are ways to arrange 10 items.[4]

Notes[change | change source]

Factorials are not defined for negative numbers. However, the related gamma function () is defined over the real and complex numbers (except for negative integers).[3]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Compendium of Mathematical Symbols". Math Vault. 2020-03-01. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  2. Aggarwal, M.L. (2021). "8. Permutations and Combinations". Understanding ISC Mathematics Class XI. Vol. I. Industrial Area, Trilokpur Road, Kala Amb-173030, Distt. Simour (H.P.): Arya Publications (Avichal Publishing Company). p. A-400. ISBN 978-81-7855-743-4.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Weisstein, Eric W. "Factorial". mathworld.wolfram.com. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Factorial Function !". www.mathsisfun.com. Retrieved 2020-09-09.

Other websites[change | change source]