If I want to generate all combinations of a set of numbers 0-max, I can do so with for loops. The following code will output all two-number pairs:

for(unsigned int i = 0; i <= max; i++)
 for(unsigned int j = 0; j <= max; j++)
  cout << i << " " << j << std::endl;


0 0
0 1
0 2
0 max
1 0
1 1
1 2
1 max

Say now I want to output all four-number combinations. I could easily nest two more loops. However, now I want to write generic code to do this for any number of N-number combinations. You can no longer use this nested loop structure, because the nested loops are hard coded for a particular N.

Any suggestions on how to do this?


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This particular problem has an iterative solution as well. Set up an array of N ints, and treat it as a max-base number. The increment function gives you a next combination:

bool increment(int arr[], int N, int max)
    int i;
    for(i = 0; (i < N) && ((arr[i] += 1) == max); i++) {
        arr[i] = 0;
    return i < N;
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