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Problem Statement:

Given an array nums of distinct integers, return all the possible permutations. You can return the answer in any order.

Example 1:
Input: nums = [1,2,3]
Output: [[1,2,3],[1,3,2],[2,1,3],[2,3,1],[3,1,2],[3,2,1]]

Example 2:
Input: nums = [0,1]
Output: [[0,1],[1,0]]

Example 3:
Input: nums = [1]
Output: [[1]]


  • NOTE: I highly recommend going through the Backtracking chapters in the order they are given in the Index page to get the most out of it and be able to build a rock-solid understanding.

The solution for this problem is based on a simple observation:
  • Suppose we we are computing a permutation perm for elements in a given array arr[] and if we are forming the permutation from left to right and if we have already formed partial permutation perm[0...(i - 1)] then candidates for the position perm[i] would be all the elements that have not been used in any of the positions in perm[0...(i - 1)].

    Example: Suppose we need to compute permutations for arr = {1, 2, 3, 4}. Now suppose we are halfway forming a permutation and so far we have gotten partial solution "1, 2 . . ". What would be the third element ? It could be either 3 or 4 because 1 and 2 have already been used and we could use each element only once.

From the above discussion we understand that exhaustive search is a way to go for this problem.

Using our understanding of backtracking and how it works and leveraging our Backtracking Template we get the below working solution.

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Don't forget to take in-depth look at the other backtracking problems because that is what would make you comfortable with using the backtracking template and master the art of Backtracking:

The above content is written by:

Abhishek Dey

Abhishek Dey

A Visionary Software Engineer With A Mission To Empower Every Person & Every Organization On The Planet To Achieve More

Microsoft | University of Florida

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