Enumerative combinatorics, graph theory, order theory, posets, matroids, designs and other discrete structures. It also includes algebraic, analytic and probabilistic combinatorics.

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Intersecting Family of Triangulations

Let $\cal T_n$ be the family of all triangulations on an $n$-gon using $(n-3)$ non-intersecting diagonals. The number of triangulations in $\cal T_n$ is $C_{n-2}$ the $(n-2)$th Catalan number. Let ...
30
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1k views

Fourier transform on the discrete cube

Notation: identify an element of $\{-1,1\}^n$ with the set $S \subseteq \{1, \ldots, n\}$ on which it takes the value $-1$. The following is an asymptotic question. "Close to one" means "more than ...
29
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413 views

Which region in the plane with a given area has the most domino tilings?

I just finished teaching a class in combinatorics in which I included a fairly easy upper bound on the number of domino tilings of a region in the plane as a function of its area. So this led to ...
29
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894 views

(Approximately) bijective proof of $\zeta(2)=\pi^2/6$ ?

Given $A,B\in {\Bbb Z}^2$, write $A \leftrightarrows B$ if the interior of the line segment AB misses ${\Bbb Z}^2$. For $r>0$, define $S_r:=\{ \{A, B\} | A,B\in {\Bbb Z}^2,||A||<r,||B||<r, ...
28
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856 views

Does every triangle-free graph with maximum degree at most 6 have a 5-colouring?

A very specific case of Reed's Conjecture Reed's $\omega$,$\Delta$, $\chi$ conjecture proposes that every graph has $\chi \leq \lceil \tfrac 12(\Delta+1+\omega)\rceil$. Here $\chi$ is the chromatic ...
27
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2k views

A Combinatorial Abstraction for The “Polynomial Hirsch Conjecture”

Consider $t$ disjoint families of subsets of {1,2,…,n}, ${\cal F}_1,{\cal F_2},\dots {\cal F_t}$ . Suppose that (*) For every $i \lt j \lt k$ and every $R \in {\cal F}_i$, and $T \in {\cal F}_k$, ...
26
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Curious $q$-analogues

Consider the Fibonacci polynomials $$F_n (x) = \sum_{j = 0}^{\left\lfloor {n/2} \right\rfloor }\binom{n-j}{j} x^{n - 2j} $$ and the Lucas polynomials $$L_n (x) = \sum_{j = 0}^{\left\lfloor {n/2} ...
20
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192 views

How close can one get to the missing finite projective planes?

This question can be interpreted as an instance of the Zarankiewicz problem. Suppose we have an $n\times n$ matrix with entries in $\{0,1\}$ with no $\begin{pmatrix}1 & 1\\ 1& 1\end{pmatrix} $ ...
20
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879 views

Do all possible trees arise as orbit trees of some permutation groups?

I.Motivation from descriptive set theory (Contains some quotes from Maciej Malicki's paper.) The classical theorem of Birkhoff-Kakutani implies that every metrizable topological group G admits a ...
19
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574 views

tiling a rectangle with the smallest number of squares

This is based on another thread. For $m,n\in \mathbb N$, let $f(m,n)$ be the minimum number of squares with integer sides needed to tile a $m\times n$ rectangle. Recently, a table of values for $n\le ...
19
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1k views

Trigonometry related to Rogers--Ramanujan identities

For integers $n\ge2$ and $k\ge2$, fix the notation $$ [m]=\sin\frac{\pi m}{nk+1} \quad\text{and}\quad [m]!=[1][2]\dots[m], \qquad m\in\mathbb Z_{>0}. $$ Consider the following trigonometric ...
19
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843 views

Red-blue alternating paths

Suppose we have two simple graphs on the same vertex set. We will call one of them red, the other blue. Suppose that for $i=1,..,k$ we have $deg (v_i)\ge i$ in both graphs, where ...
18
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372 views

probability of zero subset sum

Almost 17 years ago, I asked the following question on USENET, motivated by a method in numerology (I kid you not). Pick integers $n \ge 2$, $k \ge 1$. Toss $n$ $k$-sided dice. The sides of each die ...
18
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467 views

Cauchy matrices with elementary symmetric polynomials

$\newcommand{\vx}{\mathbf{x}}$ Let $e_k(\vx)$ denote the elementary symmetric polynomial, defined for $k=0,1,\ldots,n$ over a vector $\vx=(x_1,\ldots,x_n)$ by \begin{equation*} e_k(\vx) := \sum_{1 ...
17
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161 views

A small unavoidable collection of subgraphs

What is the smallest number S(k,n) of unlabeled graphs on k vertices such that every simple graph on n vertices contains at least one of these as an induced subgraph? I'd like to avoid exhaustive ...
17
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2k views

Why do polytopes pop up in Lagrange inversion?

I'd be interested in hearing people's viewpoints on this. Looking for an intuitive perspective. See Wikipedia for descriptions of polytopes and the Lagrange inversion theorem/formula (LIF) for ...
16
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389 views

partition of infinite word onto permitted words

Consider words over binary alphabet $\{0,1\}$. Let $M$ be a set of finite words such that $M$ contains at least $c\cdot 2^n$ words of length $n$ for all large enough $n$ (for a constant $c$, ...
16
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239 views

Is the Poset of Graphs Automorphism-free?

For $n\geq 5$, let $\mathcal {P}_n$ be the set of all isomorphism classes of graphs with n vertices. Give this set the poset structure given by $G \le H$ if and only if $G$ is a subgraph of $H$. ...
16
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337 views

Hall's Marriage Theorem and intervals

In Hall's Marriage Theorem, we have a set $B$ of brides and $G$ of grooms, where each bride $b$ has an acceptable set $A_b \subseteq G$ of grooms. A matching $m:B\to G$ is an injection such that $m(b) ...
16
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483 views

Is there a n/2 version of the Erdős-Hanani conjecture?

This question comes out of REU research from this past summer. Unfortunately weeks of thought led to only trivial observations and the conclusion that the problem is quite hard. Fix $k,t$. Let $F$ be ...
16
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788 views

The Fourier Transform of taking Eigenvalues

The purpose of this question is to ask about the Fourier transform of the map which associate to an $n$ by $n$ matrix its $n$ eigenvalues, or some function of the $n$ eigenvalues. The main motivation ...
16
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960 views

Origins of the Nerve Theorem

Recently, I've read two papers which have cited the Nerve Theorem, one crediting Borsuk with the result and another Leray. Here is the question: Who was the first to prove the Nerve Theorem?
15
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333 views

Spencer's “six standard deviations” theorem - better constants?

This question is about Joel Spencer's famous "six standard deviations" theorem. The theorem says that when $$ L_i(x_1,\dots,x_n) = a_{i1} x_1 + \dots + a_{in} x_n, \quad 1 \leq i \leq n, $$ are $n$ ...
15
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374 views

Combinatorics of Quantum Schubert Polynomials

Let $S_n$ be the symmetric group. Let $s_i$ denote the adjacent transposition $(i \ i+1)$. For any permutation $w\in S_n$, an expression $w=s_{i_1}s_{i_2}\cdots s_{i_p}$ of minimal possible length is ...
15
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264 views

Maximum automorphism group for a 3-connected cubic graph

The following arose as a side issue in a project on graph reconstruction. Problem: Let $a(n)$ be the greatest order of the automorphism group of a 3-connected cubic graph with $n$ vertices. Find a ...
15
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522 views

A bijection between sets of Young tableaux of two kinds

Assuming that the problem of exhibiting a bijection is not considerd a frivolous pursuit, allow me to ask a question troubling me for some time now. Let $\lambda \vdash n$ denote the fact that ...
15
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0answers
1k views

Covers of $Z^k$

This is a question related to covers of $Z^\infty$. Is it possible to cover $Z^k$, $k>1$, with the $l_1$-metric by a constant (not depending on $k$) number of collections of subsets $U^0,...,U^c$ ...
15
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0answers
755 views

Optimal Monotone Families for the Discrete Isoperimetric Inequality

Background: the Discrete Isoperimetric Inequality Start with a set X={1,2,...,n} of n elements and the family $2^X$ of all subsets of X. For a real number p between zero and one, we consider a ...
14
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497 views

What's the big deal about $M_{13}$?

$M_{13}$ is the Mathieu groupoid defined by Conway in Conway, J. H. $M_{13}$. Surveys in combinatorics, 1997 (London), 1–11, London Math. Soc. Lecture Note Ser., 241, Cambridge Univ. Press, ...
14
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584 views

A Conjecture About Directed Graphs that are the Union of Two Trees

Let D=(V,E) be a directed graph that is the union of two edge-disjoint directed spanning trees. Suppose that There no subset X of vertices so that there is precisely one directed edge from X ...
14
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849 views

Is every k-edge-connected graph also k-trail-ordered?

This is an old question of Aradhana Narula-Tam and Philip Lin that I think deserves wider circulation. It appeared in Discrete Math. 257 (2002), page 613, but not many people have looked at it and it ...
13
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545 views

What is the best lower bound for 3-sunflowers?

A collection of $t$ sets $A_i$ is called a t-sunflower if $A_i \cap A_j = Z $ for all $i \neq j$ for some fixed $Z$. A well-known conjecture of Erdos and Rado says that there is a constant $C_t$ such ...
13
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397 views

Catalan objects associated to a univariate polynomial

Given a monic degree $n$ polynomial $f(z)$ with no double roots, and a phase $0\leq \theta < \pi$, there are natural constructions which associate to this data: a noncrossing matching on $2n$ ...
13
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475 views

$\epsilon$-nets with respect to the cut norm

The cut norm $||A||\_C$ of a real matrix $A = (a_{i,j}) \in \mathcal{R}^{n\times n}$ is the maximum over all $I \subseteq [n], J \subseteq [n]$ of the quantity $\left|\sum_{i \in I, j \in ...
13
votes
0answers
2k views

Minimum tiling of a rectangle by squares

Given the $n\times m$ rectangle, I want to compute the minimum number of integer-sided squares needed to tile it (possibly of different sizes). Is there an efficient way to calculate this?
13
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647 views

Polynomials with presumably positive coefficients

After seeing that some positivity problems get their solutions on MO, I am quite enthusiastic of posing my (and not only) problem of positive flavour. In order to state it, I have to introduce the ...
12
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133 views

realization spaces of 3-dimensional polytopes

It is a well-know result (Steinitz, 1922) that the realization space of 3-dimensional convex polytopes with fixed combinatorics is contractible. A proof of this theorem can be found for instance in ...
12
votes
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525 views

Random Walk on $\mathbb{R}$ with Uniformly Distributed Steps and “Reflective” Boundary at Origin

A particle lies on the real number line at the origin. For each step taken, the particle moves from its current position a distance (and direction) chosen equi-probably from range $[-1,r]$. However, ...
12
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523 views

How to explain the picturesque patterns in François Brunault's matrix?

How to explain the patterns in the matrix defined in François Brunault's answer to the question Freeness of a Z[x] module depicted below? -- Choosing colors according to the highest power of 2 which ...
12
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0answers
319 views

Splay trees and Thompson's group $F$

( I apologize for only indicating some easy to find references, but new users are not allowed to link more than five). This is very speculative, but: Question: Is there a reformulation of the Dynamic ...
12
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250 views

Are the zeros of Tutte polynomials dense in $\mathbb C^2$?

For the chromatic polynomials of graphs we have two nice theorems which describe the behavior of their zeros: Thomassen proved that the set of real zeros of all chromatic polynomials is the union of ...
12
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308 views

Best known constant for parallel sorting

I recently found myself talking about Szemerédi's mathematics, and briefly discussed his famous sorting network, discovered with Ajtai and Komlós. Apparently their algorithm is not practical because ...
12
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0answers
586 views

slick-proof-of-trick-for-counting-domino-tilings

The trick for rewriting the number of domino tilings of a simply-connected finite lattice region as the absolute value of the determinant of a matrix (due I believe to Kasteleyn and Percus, but if ...
12
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670 views

Sums of Partitions and Stirling's formula

Stirling's formula $$N! \sim \sqrt{2 \pi}\ N^{N+ \frac{1}{2}} e^{-N}$$ follows easily from Laplace's method in light of the famous integral representation $$N! = \int_0^{\infty} e^{-z} z^N dz.$$ ...
12
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872 views

coloring ${\mathbb Z}^k$

This question is related to but seems to be simpler than this one, so perhaps somebody can solve it. Question. Is there $k\ge 1$ and a coloring of vertices of the lattice ${\mathbb Z}^k$ in $k$ ...
12
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345 views

How much must deleting a spanning tree reduce edge-connectivity?

Suppose you have a 100-edge connected graph (e.g. an infrastructure network). You want to delete the edges of a spanning tree, any spanning tree you choose (e.g. to sell a connected subnetwork). What ...
12
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430 views

A commutative monoid associated with a finite abelian group

Let $M$ be a finite abelian group, and denote by $e_m$, for $m \in M$, the canonical basis of $\mathbb{Z}^M$. For $m, n \in M$ define elements $v_{m,n} \in \mathbb{Z}^M/\langle e_0\rangle$ as $$ ...
12
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1k views

Finding a chromatic polynomial by polynomial fitting

I would like to find the chromatic polynomial χ for the n by m rook's graph Gn,m for as many values of n and m possible. The rooks graph is also (a) the line graph of the complete bipartite graph ...
12
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426 views

Where do stable Kronecker coefficients live “in nature”?

Background: For a partition $\lambda$, let $\lambda[N] = (N - |\lambda|, \lambda_1, \lambda_2, \lambda_3, \dots)$, also let $\chi_\lambda$ be the corresponding irreducible character of the symmetric ...
11
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214 views

Evaluating products of cyclotomic polynomials at roots of unity

Are there general non-trivial conditions on $p(\cdot)$ and $n$, where $p(\cdot)$ is a product of cyclotomic polynomials and $n$ is a positive integer, such that all the coefficients of $p(\cdot)$ are ...