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Special subset sums: optimum

Problem 103

Published on Friday, 26th August 2005, 06:00 pm; Solved by 4127

Let S(A) represent the sum of elements in set A of size n. We shall call it a special sum set if for any two non-empty disjoint subsets, B and C, the following properties are true:

  1. S(B) ≠ S(C); that is, sums of subsets cannot be equal.
  2. If B contains more elements than C then S(B) > S(C).

If S(A) is minimised for a given n, we shall call it an optimum special sum set. The first five optimum special sum sets are given below.

n = 1: {1}
n = 2: {1, 2}
n = 3: {2, 3, 4}
n = 4: {3, 5, 6, 7}
n = 5: {6, 9, 11, 12, 13}

It seems that for a given optimum set, A = {a1, a2, ... , an}, the next optimum set is of the form B = {b, a1+b, a2+b, ... ,an+b}, where b is the "middle" element on the previous row.

By applying this "rule" we would expect the optimum set for n = 6 to be A = {11, 17, 20, 22, 23, 24}, with S(A) = 117. However, this is not the optimum set, as we have merely applied an algorithm to provide a near optimum set. The optimum set for n = 6 is A = {11, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25}, with S(A) = 115 and corresponding set string: 111819202225.

Given that A is an optimum special sum set for n = 7, find its set string.

NOTE: This problem is related to Problem 105 and Problem 106.