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 l1³ l2³ ... ³ lN³ 1, n(l)=åi=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)=åk krk(l) and N(l)=åk rk(l). Recall that # Pn=p(n) is the Euler function and the generating function ån p(n)xn is Õi³ 1 (1-qi)-1. The author associates a function jl on [0,¥) with the partition lÎ Pn by the following rule:
j
 l
(t)=
 å k³ t
rk(l)
jl is a step function, continuous on the right and ò0¥jl(t)=n. Let a={an}n³ 0 with an>0 for all n; the function
 ~ j
 l
(t)=
an
n
 å k³ an t
rk(l)=
an
n
j
 l
(an t)
is jl normed by an, so that ò0¥j~l(t)=1.

Let µn be the uniform measure on the set Pn of all partitions of the integer nn(l)= p(n)-1, lÎ Pn; the question is whether one can normalize the partitions in such a way that, in some properly chosen space, the measures µn 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 µn 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
µn{lÎ P n|
 sup tÎ[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
µn{lÎ Q n|
 sup tÎ[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 .

## References


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


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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