# The symmetric functions catalog

An overview of symmetric functions and related topics

2024-02-09

See the cyclic sieving phenomenon page for the definition and related theorems.

The $q$-analog of the Catalan numbers here is defined as $\catalan(n,q) = \frac{1}{[n+1]_q}\qbinom{2n}{n}_q .$

## Catalan objects

### Triangulations of $(n+2)$-gons

Let $\mathrm{TRI}(n)$ be the set of triangulations on an $n$-gon. Note that $|\mathrm{TRI}(n)| = \catalan(n-2).$ We let $\rot_{n}$ denote rotation by $2\pi/n.$ Then

$\left( \mathrm{TRI}(n), \langle \rot_{n} \rangle, \catalan(n-2,q) \right)$

exhibits the CSP, see [RSW04].

In [Thm. 8.2, ALPU21], we refine this result. We let $\mathrm{TRI}_{\mathrm{ear}}(n,k)$ denote the set of triangulations of an $n$-gon with $k$ ears. An ear is a triangle with at most one side in the interior.

Theorem.

Let $2 \leq k \leq \frac{n}{2}$ and let

\begin{equation*} \mathrm{Tri}_q(n,k) \coloneqq q^{k(k-2)} \frac{[n]_q}{[k]_q} \qbinom{n-4}{2k-4}\catalan_q(k-2) \left( \sum_{j=0}^{n-2k} q^{j(n-2)}\qbinom{n-2k}{j}\right). \end{equation*}

Then $\sum_k \mathrm{Tri}_q(n,k) = \catalan_q(n-2),$ and $\left( \mathrm{TRI}_{\mathrm{ear}}(n,k), \langle \rot_n \rangle, \mathrm{Tri}_q(n,k) \right)$ exhibits the cyclic sieving phenomenon.

### Non-crossing matchings

Let $X_n$ be the set of non-crossing matchings, on $2n$ vertices. It is well-known that $|X_n| =\catalan(n).$ We let the generator of $\grpc_n$ act on $X_n$ by a $2\pi/n$ rotation. Then

$\left( X_{n}, \grpc_n, \frac{1}{[n+1]_q}\qbinom{2n}{n}_q \right)$

exhibits the CSP. This is a special case of promotion, $\partial,$ on rectangular SYT, in the case of tableaux of shape $(n,n).$ In fact, we can refine the above CSP, and let $\grpc_{2n}$ act on $X_n$ by a $\pi/n$ rotation. Then

$\left( X_{n}, \grpc_{2n}, \frac{1}{[n+1]_q}\qbinom{2n}{n}_q \right)$

exhibits the CSP, see [PPR08].

Example.

For $n=3,$ there are five non-crossing matchings:

These are in bijection with north-east lattice paths from $(0,0)$ to $(n,n)$ which are never below the main diagonal. The bijection is given by parenthesis matching, where a north-step is a left parenthesis, and an east step is a right parenthesis.

The lattice paths are now in bijection with $2\times n$ standard Young tableaux. The bijection is given by making the number $k$ appear in the first row of the SYT if step $k$ in the path is a north-step.

In [Thm. 4.8, ALPU21], we refine the CSP on non-crossing matchings. Let $\NCM_{sh}(n, k)$ be the set of non-crossing matchings with exactly $k$ short edges, and $\SYT_{cdes}(n^2,k)$ be the set of $2 \times n$ standard Young tableaux with exactly $k$ cyclic descents.

Theorem.

Let $k, n \geq 2$ be natural numbers and let

$\SYT_q(n,k) \coloneqq \frac{q^{k(k-2)}(1+q^n)}{[n+1]_q} \qbinom{n+1}{k} \qbinom{n-2}{k-2}.$

Then $\sum_{k} \SYT_q(n,k) = \catalan_{n}(q),$

and the triples

$(\SYT_{cdes}(n^2,k),\langle \partial_{2n} \rangle,\SYT_q(n,k) )$

and

$(\NCM_{sh}(n, k),\langle \mathrm{rot}_{2n} \rangle, \SYT_q(n,k) )$

exhibit the cyclic sieving phenomenon.

### Non-crossing (1,2)-configurations

Let $\mathrm{NCC}_n$ be the set non-crossing $(1,2)$-configurations of $[n-1].$ That is, elements are partitioned into sets of size $1$ or $2$ and sets of size $2$ are non-crossing. We have that $|X_n| = \catalan(n),$ [Family 60, Sta15a]. The generator of $\grpc_{n}$ act on $\mathrm{NCC}_{n+1}$ by a $2\pi/n$ rotation. Then

$\left( \mathrm{NCC}_{n+1}, \grpc_{n}, \catalan_{n+1}(q) \right)$

exhibits the CSP, see [Thi17].

A representation-theoretical proof of this cyclic sieving phenomenon can be found in [ZZ24]. The authors also give a dihedral group action with CSP.

### Non-crossing (1,2)-configurations, with twist

There is an alternative group action, combining rotation with a type of twist, see [Thm. 5.4, ALPU21]. With a different $q$-analog of the Catalan numbers, we get CSP for non-crossing $(1,2)$-configurations.

Theorem.

The triple

$\left( \mathrm{NCC}(n+1), \langle \mathrm{twist}_{2n} \rangle, \qbinom{2n}{n} - q^2 \qbinom{2n}{n-2} \right)$

exhibits the cyclic sieving phenomenon.

There is a type $B$ version of non-crossing $(1,2)$-configurations. In [Thm. 6.6, ALPU21], we show that $\left(\mathrm{NCC}^B(n+1), \langle \mathrm{twist}^2_{2n} \rangle, \qbinom{2n}{n}\right)$ is a CSP-triple.

### Non-crossing partitions (Narayana)

A non-crossing partition is a set-partition of the vertices in an $n$-gon, so that the convex hulls of the sets do not intersect. Let $X_{n,k}$ be the set of non-crossing partitions with $k$ blocks, and let $\grpc_n$ act by rotation of the $n$-gon. Then

$\left( X_{n,k}, \grpc_n, q^{k(k+1)} \frac{1}{[n]_q} \qbinom{n}{k}_q \qbinom{n}{k+1}_q \right)$

exhibits the CSP, see [RSW04].

### Non-crossing partitions II

D. Bessis and V. Reiner [BR11] study well-generated complex reflection groups. For such groups $W,$ one can define a generalization of the $q$-Catalan numbers, $\catalan(W,q)$ as well as the notion of non-crossing partitions. The set of non-crossing partitions, $NC(W)$ are identified with a certain set of reflections in $W.$ There is then a special element, $c\in W$ acting on $NC(W)$ via conjugation.

It is then proved that

$\left( NC(W), \langle c \rangle , \catalan(W,q) \right)$

is a CSP-triple.

The authors provide a connection with Springer's theory, and end the article with several conjectures. Most of these conjectures are resolved later in [RS18].

### Non-crossing partitions III (Narayana, Kreweras)

In [RS18], the authors find a cyclic sieving phenomenon on non-crossing partitions of $n$ with exactly $k$ parts. The number of such non-crossing partitions is given by the Narayana numbers, and we define a $q$-analogue of the Narayana numbers as

$N_{n,k}(q) \coloneqq \frac{ q^{k(k-1)} }{ [n]_q } \qbinom{n}{k}_q \qbinom{n}{k-1}_q = \frac{ q^{k(k-1)} }{[k]_q} \qbinom{n-1}{k-1}_q \qbinom{n}{k-1}_q.$

Note that $\catalan_n(q)=\sum_k N_{n,k}(q).$ The $\grpc_n$ group action on the non-crossing partitions is given by rotation. For each fixed value of $n$ and $k$ with $1\leq k \leq n,$ we have a cyclic sieving phenomenon.

The authors also prove CSP in the case of $q$-Kreweras numbers. Let $\lambda \vdash n$ and $\length(\lambda)=k.$ The $q$-analogue of the Kreweras numbers is defined as

$Krew(\lambda;q) \coloneqq \frac{q^{k(n-1)-c(\lambda)}}{[n+1]_q} \qbinom{n+1}{m(\lambda),n-k+1}$

where $c(\lambda) = \sum_{i} \lambda'_i \lambda'_{i+1}$ and $m(\lambda)$ is the type of $\lambda.$ Then $Krew(\lambda;1)$ is the number of non-crossing partitions where the part sizes are given by $\lambda.$ The cyclic group action still gives a cyclic sieving phenomenon.

The authors generalize this to other classical types of Weyl groups ($A,$$B,$$C,$$D$).

Example (Non-crossing partitions).

Here is a list of the non-crossing partitions for $n=4$:

### Non-crossing partitions IV (Fuß–Catalan)

In [KM13], the authors consider $m$-divisible non-crossing partitions. Let $X_{n,m}$ be the number of non-crossing partitions of $[nm]$ where each part has a size which is a multiple of $m.$ Consider the $q$-analogue $q$-analogue of the Fuß–Catalan numbers:

$f_{n,m}(q) \coloneqq \frac{1}{[n]_q} \qbinom{(m+1)n}{n-1}_q = \frac{1}{[(m+1)n+1]_q}\qbinom{(m+1)n+1}{n}_q.$

Then $(X_{n,m},\grpc_{mn},f_{n,m}(q))$ is a CSP-triple, where $\grpc_n$ act by rotation of $2\pi/(mn).$

Similarly, let $Y_{n,m}$ be the number of non-crossing partitions of $[nm]$ where each part has a size equal to $m,$ and let

$g_{n,m}(q) \coloneqq \frac{1}{[n]_q} \qbinom{mn}{n-1}_q.$

Then $(Y_{n,m},\grpc_{mn},g_{n,m}(q))$ is a CSP-triple, where $\grpc_n$ act by rotation of $2\pi/(mn).$

The authors also consider irreducible well-generated complex reflection groups, which reduce to the Fuß–Catalan numbers in type $A.$ See also [RS18].

### Rational Catalan and Kreweras

In [BR16] M. Bodnar and B. Rhoades prove that the rational $q$-Catalan numbers,

$\catalan_{a/b}(q) = \frac{1}{[a+b]_q} \qbinom{a+b}{a}_q,$

admits a cyclic sieving phenomenon. They require that $a\lt b$ and $a,$ $b$ are coprime. Then $\grpc_{b-1}$ act on the set of $(a,b)$-non-crossing partitions of $[b-1]$ by rotation, and this gives a CSP. This settles a conjecture stated in [Arm12].

They also prove the corresponding refined rational $q$-Narayana and $q$-Kreweras version of this. The rational $q$-Narayana numbers are defined as

$N_{a/b,k}(q) = \frac{1}{[a]_q} \qbinom{a}{k}_q \qbinom{b-1}{k-1}_q,$

where the classical Narayana numbers are recovered when $a=b=n$ and $q=1.$