I am reading the structure of multipartite entanglement from section 3.3. It is stated there that the number of possible partitions of $N$ parties into $m$ parts is given by $\frac{m^N}{m!}$.

I could not understand how they are doing the calculation. Can anyone please help as to how should I proceed?


1 Answer 1


This is a purely combinatorics problem. Let us index our registers by $1,\cdots,N$. We have $m$ "bags" $P_1,\cdots,P_m$ into which which we want to put our indexes.

  • For the first index ($1$), we have $m$ choices: we can put it in any of the $P_i$.
  • For the second index ($2$), well, it's still the case, so we also have $m$ choices.
  • ...
  • For the last index ($N$), we still have $m$ choices.

All in all, this results in $m^N$ possibilities. However, we mustn't count the order of the partitions. For instance, if $N=3$ and $m=2$, $P_1=\{1\}$ and $P_2=\{2, 3\}$ corresponds to the same partition as $P_1=\{2, 3\}$ and $P_2=\{1\}$.

That is, the way we counted our sets, we have counted each configuration along with all its permutations. There are $m!$ of them, so we must divide by this number in order to get the final result.

Note that the way they counted, they allow for $P_i$ to be nil sets.


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