Combinations Leetcode Solution

Difficulty Level Medium
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The problem Combinations Leetcode Solution provides us with two integers, n, and k. We are told to generate all the sequences that have k elements picked out of n elements from 1 to n. We return these sequences as an array. Let us go through a few examples to get a better understanding of the problem.

n = 4, k = 2

Explanation: The output shows all the ways of picking k elements out of first n natural numbers. Here, the ordering of the numbers does not matter. Only the collection of numbers matters.

n = 1, k = 1

Explanation: Here, since we have a single element. We are also told to pick a single element. Thus the output is [[1]].

Approach for the Combinations Leetcode Solution

The problem Combinations Leetcode Solution asked us simply to generate all the sequences of picking k elements out of first n natural numbers. So, this is simply generating all the nCk combinations available to pick k elements. Generally, the tasks involving the generation of sequences are solved using recursion. So, we try a recursive approach to the problem. And keep track of a vector that aims to store such combinations.

So, we start with an empty vector. We push an element into it. Then recursively solve a subproblem of picking k-1 elements out of remaining n-1 elements. in this way we keep on reducing the problem until we reach the problem of picking 0 elements. When this happens, we push this temporary vector to our answer. In the end, this answer stores all the sequences of picking k elements out of n elements.

Combinations Leetcode Solution

Code for Combinations Leetcode Solution

C++ Code

#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;

void rec(int i, int k, int n, vector<int>& cur, vector<vector<int>>& res){
    if(cur.size()==k) {
    } else {
        for(int j=i;j<=n;j++) {
            rec(j+1, k, n, cur, res);

vector<vector<int>> combine(int n, int k) {
    vector<vector<int>> res;
    vector<int> cur;
    rec(1, k, n, cur, res);
    return res;

int main(){
    vector<vector<int>> output = combine(4, 2);
    for(auto singleList: output){
        for(auto element: singleList)
            cout<<element<<" ";
1 2
1 3
1 4
2 3
2 4
3 4

Java Code

import java.util.*;
import java.lang.*;

class Main
  static List<List<Integer>> res = new ArrayList<List<Integer>>();
    public static void rec(int i, int k, int n, ArrayList<Integer> cur){
        if(cur.size()==k) {
            res.add(new ArrayList(cur));
        } else {
            for(int j=i;j<=n;j++) {
                rec(j+1, k, n, cur);
    public static List<List<Integer>> combine(int n, int k) {
        ArrayList<Integer> cur = new ArrayList<Integer>();
        rec(1, k, n, cur);
        return res;

  public static void main (String[] args) throws java.lang.Exception{
    List<List<Integer>> res = combine(4, 2);
[[1, 2], [1, 3], [1, 4], [2, 3], [2, 4], [3, 4]]

Complexity Analysis

Time Complexity

O(k*nCk), here nCk means the binomial coefficient of picking k elements out of n elements.

Space Complexity

O(nCk), as stated above the nCk here refers to the binomial coefficient.

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