# A puzzle in Permutation

There are two stacks A and B.

A :  a,b,c,d   ('a' is on top and 'd' is at the bottom of the stack)
B :  (empty)


There are two rules.

If an element of A is popped, it must be printed immediately or pushed into B.
If an element of B is popped, it can only be printed.


So, how many permutations of a,b,c,d are possible? (continue reading)

P.S. Well, I did calculations manually(didn't use any formula) and got 14 as the answer. However, it took around 10 minutes to do the lengthy steps. So, is there an easy way to do this?

(added, after you recomputed) Thus, we get a formula, the number of "single-stack sortable permutations of length n" is the $n$-th Catalan number $C_n = \frac 1{n+1}{2n \choose n}$. That does not yet explain the connection. There is a lot to learn about Catalan numbers, see the wiki-page for a lot of situations where they arise! Also the page to the online encyclopedia of integer sequence I referred to has more than enough links to keep you busy for a long time.