Determine the permutation (x_1,x_2,...,x_40) of numbers 1,2,...,40 such that the expression x_1 + x_2 / x_3 - x_4 * x_5 + x_6 / x_7 - x_8 * x_9 + ... + x_38 / x_39 - x_40 has the maximal possible value. (the operators +,/,-,* alternate regularly.) It can be generalized for 4n (where n is an arbitrary natural)? But I must confess, that I have a lot of problems with the simpler task... I think that more than one permutation give the same maximum. I have one suggestion, but I can't prove that it belongs to the best of all. It's based on: let (a,b,c,d,e,f) be a permution of (1,2,3,4,5,6) minimum of ab + cd + ef occurs for 6*1 + 2*5 + 3*4 maximum of a/b + c/d + e/f occrus for 6/1 + 5/2 + 4/3 But the generalization... Thanks.