A high security research lab requires the researchers to set a pass key sequence based on the scan of the five fingers of their left hands. When an employee first joins the lab, her fingers are scanned in an order of her choice, and then when she wants to re-enter the facility, she has to scan the five fingers in the same sequence.
The lab authorities are considering some relaxations of the scan order requirements, since it is observed that some employees often get locked-out because they forget the sequence.
The lab has decided to allow a variation in the sequence of scans of the five fingers so that at most two scans (out of five) are out of place. For example, if the original sequence is Thumb (T), index finger (I), middle finger (M), ring finger (R) and little finger (L) then TLMRI is also allowed, but TMRLI is not.
How many different sequences of scans are allowed for any given person's original scan?
Correct Answer: 11
Let the original sequence be TIMRL
Two fingers can be out of place. This can be done if and only if two fingers interchange their position. These two can be selected in $$^5C_2 = 10$$ ways. In addition to these, the original sequence will also be accepted. Hence the total number of acceptable sequences = 10 + 1 = 11
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