Euler Problem 15: Pathways Through a Lattice

Euler Problem 15 analyses taxicab geometry. This system replaces the usual distance function with the sum of the absolute differences of their Cartesian coordinates. In other words, the distance a taxi would travel in a grid plan. The fifteenth Euler problem asks to determine the number of possible routes a taxi can take in a city of a certain size.

Euler Problem 15 Definition

Starting in the top left corner of a 2×2 grid, and only being able to move to the right and down, there are exactly 6 routes to the bottom right corner. How many possible routes are there through a 20×20 grid?

Euler Problem 15: Lattice Paths


The defined lattice is one larger than the number of squares. Along the edges of the matrix, only one pathway is possible: straight to the right or down. We can calculate the number of possible pathways for the remaining number by adding the number to the right and below the point.


For the two by two lattice the solution space is:

6  3  1
3  2  1
1  1  0

The total number of pathways from the upper left corner to the lower right corner is thus 6. This logic can now be applied to a grid of any arbitrary size using the following code.

The code defines the lattice and initiates the boundary conditions. The bottom row and the right column are filled with 1 as there is only one solution from these points. The code then calculates the pathways by working backwards through the matrix. The final solution is the number is the first cell.

# Define lattice
nLattice <- 20
lattice = matrix(ncol=nLattice + 1, nrow=nLattice + 1)

# Boundary conditions
lattice[nLattice + 1,-(nLattice + 1)] <- 1
lattice[-(nLattice + 1), nLattice + 1] <- 1

# Calculate Pathways
for (i in nLattice:1) {
    for (j in nLattice:1) {
        lattice[i,j] <- lattice[i+1, j] + lattice[i, j+1]

answer <- lattice[1,1]

View the latest version of this code on GitHub.

Taxicab Geometry

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