5 Best Ways to Check if n is Divisible by a Number Composed of Set Digits a, b in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: In this article, we tackle the task of determining whether an integer n is divisible by any number formed by the digits from a set, consisting of two specific integers a and b. For instance, if a is 1, b is 3, and n is 132, the desired output would be True since 132 is divisible by 13, a number composed of the digits 1 and 3.

Method 1: Brute Force Permutations

This method involves generating all possible permutations of the digits in the set and checking if n is divisible by any of these permutations. The function itertools.permutations() is highly useful here as it provides a straightforward way to create permutations of a given length from the input set.

Here’s an example:

from itertools import permutations

def is_divisible(n, a, b):
    digits = str(a) + str(b)
    perms = [''.join(p) for p in permutations(digits, len(digits))]
    return any(n % int(perm) == 0 for perm in perms)

# Example usage:
print(is_divisible(132, 1, 3))



This code snippet generates all possible permutations of the string “13” and checks if the integer 132 is divisible by any of these permutations. It’s a straightforward solution, although it has a significant weakness in computational efficiency for larger sets or longer digit strings.

Method 2: Sorted Digits Comparison

A more efficient method might involve sorting the digits of both n and the concatenated string composed of a and b, then checking for divisibility if they match. This works under the assumption that any number composed of the set’s digits will have the same sorted representation.

Here’s an example:

def is_divisible_sorted(n, a, b):
    sorted_set = ''.join(sorted(str(a) + str(b)))
    sorted_n = ''.join(sorted(str(n)))
    return sorted_n.startswith(sorted_set) and n % int(sorted_set) == 0

# Example usage:
print(is_divisible_sorted(132, 1, 3))



In this code, we sort the digits of n and the set {a, b} and then check for divisibility. This method reduces computation time but only works if the number n is the same length as the set and has the same digits, thus limiting its applicability.

Method 3: Dynamic Programming

Dynamic Programming can be used to solve this problem through building up a solution using previously computed results. In essence, we try to build a number from the bottom up (starting from the smallest digit) and check if we can reach n by only using digits from our set.

Here’s an example:

def is_divisible_dp(n, a, b):
    # Implementation of Dynamic Programming solution omitted for brevity.

# Example usage omitted as the DP solution is more complex and beyond the scope of a simple example.

This section would typically include a code example and output, but a Dynamic Programming solution is intricate and may not lend itself to a brief showcase. However, it’s worth noting that Dynamic Programming can be an efficient way to solve the problem if the function is implemented correctly, particularly for larger numbers.

Method 4: Mathematics and Number Theory

Using number theory, we can reduce this problem to understanding the properties of numbers and divisors. For example, for single-digit sets {a, b}, we know any number divisible by both 10*a+b and 10*b+a is divisible by n if a or b is digits of n.

Here’s an example:

def is_divisible_math(n, a, b):
    return n % (10*a + b) == 0 or n % (10*b + a) == 0

# Example usage:
print(is_divisible_math(132, 1, 3))



This code snippet quickly computes two possible numbers formed from digits a and b and checks if the given number n is divisible by either. This method is highly efficient but limited to single-digit sets.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Using List Comprehension

For the Python enthusiasts looking for a concise solution, a one-liner using list comprehension can succinctly check divisibility by generating all two-digit combinations of the set {a, b}.

Here’s an example:

def is_divisible_oneliner(n, a, b):
    return any(n % int(f'{x}{y}') == 0 for x in (a,b) for y in (a,b) if f'{x}{y}'< str(n))

# Example usage:
print(is_divisible_oneliner(132, 1, 3))



The above one-liner creates all combinations of the digits a and b into two-digit numbers and checks for divisibility against n. It’s a compact and pythonic way to handle the problem, yet may not be as readable for beginners.


  • Method 1: Brute Force Permutations. Easy to understand. Suitable for small digit sets. Not efficient for larger sets or numbers.
  • Method 2: Sorted Digits Comparison. More efficient than brute force. Limited to numbers with matching digit sets. Applicable only when n has identical digits to the set.
  • Method 3: Dynamic Programming. Highly efficient for large numbers. Complex implementation. Overkill for small input sizes.
  • Method 4: Mathematics and Number Theory. Very efficient. Best for sets of single-digit numbers. Limited applicability for larger digit sets.
  • Bonus One-Liner Method 5: List Comprehension. Compact and pythonic. Sacrifices some readability for brevity. Useful for small sets of digits.