I'm trying to figure out an algorithm for this specific problem.

The problem: I have N people (say 60 but could be far more) that I want to organize into groups of 4 on a monthly cadence.

The constraints:

  1. Each month, groups should contain people that haven't been grouped before (until they've been in a group with everyone)
  2. Since these people all work for the same company, people in a group should never be on the same team (as in, reporting to the same manager).

1 Answer 1


Here's one potential approach. First, partition all people who work at the company according to their team. This way, you get sets $T_1, \ldots, T_k$. Now, for every 4-tuple $(a,b,c,d)$, with $1 \leq a < b < c < d \leq k$, you can enumerate the groups $g_1, \ldots, g_m$ where the first person belongs to $T_a$, the second one to $T_b$, third to $T_c$ and last to $T_d$. Initialize an empty graph $G$ over $n$ nodes, each representing a person, where edges will represent who has been grouped with whom. For each group $g_i$, check if you can actually create it by verifying it's not a $4$-clique in $G$. If you can create it, then print it and add edges between every pair of people in $g_i$.

There might be better approaches, but that will depend on how large you expect $n$ to be, what the team-structure is like, and what properties are you trying to optimize in your algorithm; e.g., minimizing enumeration delay, memory, etc.


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