Limit Shape Theorems for Partitions

Anatoly Vershik

IHES, Bures-sur-Yvette

Algorithms Seminar

March 8, 1999

[summary by Sylvie Corteel]

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Abstract
Many combinatorial and geometrical problems can be reduced to a problem about partitions of natural numbers or vectors, etc. The main asymptotic question is the behaviour of the shape of such a partition when the statistics or dynamics are fixed. This leads us to the problem of limit shapes. Example: what is the typical limit shape of the uniformly distributed partition of the integers? An explicit answer can be given.



A partition of a nonnegative integer n is a sequence l=(l1,l2,... , lN) such that l1 l2 ... lN 1, n(l)=i=1N li=n. The li's are the summands of the partitions. Let Pn denote the set of all partitions of the integer n and Qn the set of partitions of the integer n with distinct summands. Let rk(l) be the multiplicity of the summand k, that is rk(l)=#{j|lj=k}. Clearly, n(l)=k krk(l) and N(l)=k rk(l). Recall that # Pn=p(n) is the Euler function and the generating function n p(n)xn is i 1 (1-qi)-1. The author associates a function jl on [0,) with the partition l Pn by the following rule:
j
 
l
(t)=
 
k t
rk(l)
jl is a step function, continuous on the right and 0jl(t)=n. Let a={an}n 0 with an>0 for all n; the function
~
j
 
 
l
(t)=
an
n
 
k an t
rk(l)=
an
n
j
 
l
(an t)
is jl normed by an, so that 0j~l(t)=1.

Let n be the uniform measure on the set Pn of all partitions of the integer n:n(l)= p(n)-1, l Pn; the question is whether one can normalize the partitions in such a way that, in some properly chosen space, the measures n have a weak limit on generalized diagrams, and whether this limit is singular. In the last case, the limit measure is concentrated on a limit shape. An affirmative answer to these questions, as well as explicit formulas for limit shapes, are given in the sequel.

Theorem 1   The scaling a={an} for the uniform measure on Pn such that a non trivial limit exists in the space of generalized diagrams is an=(n)1/2.
The same scaling is appropriate for the uniform measure on Qn.

Theorem 2   Under the previous scaling, the measures n have a weak limit. This limit is singular and concentrated on a continuous curve.

The limit shape of the uniformly distributed ordinary partitions and partitions into distinct summands can now be stated.

Theorem 3   For any e>0, 0<x,y<, there exists n0 such that for all n>n0
n{l P n|
 
sup
t[x,y]
|
~
j
 
 
l
(t)-C(t)|<e}>1-e,
where C(t)=-((6)1/2/p)ln(1-ep t/(6)1/2), or in more symmetric form
e
-p x/(6)1/2
 
+e
-p y/(6)1/2
 
=1.

Theorem 4   For any e>0, 0<x,y<, there exists n0 such that for all n>n0
n{l Q n|
 
sup
t[x,y]
|
~
j
 
 
l
(t)-C(t)|<e}>1-e,
where C(t)=-((12)1/2/p)ln(1+e-p t/(12)1/2), or in more symmetric form
e
-p y/(12)1/2
 
-e
-p x/(12)1/2
 
=1.

The limit shape can also be obtained for the uniform measure on partitions included in a rectangle, partitions with a given number of summands, vector partitions,...and other kinds of measures called multiplicative measures. The detailed results and links with statistical mechanics are presented in [2].

References

[1]
Andrews (George E.). -- The theory of partitions. -- Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, Mass., 1976, Encyclopedia of Mathematics and its Applications, vol. 2, xiv+255p.

[2]
Vershik (A. M.). -- Statistical mechanics of combinatorial partitions, and their limit configurations. Rossiiskaya Akademiya Nauk. Funktsional'nyi Analiz i ego Prilozheniya, vol. 30, n°2, 1996.

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