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Linear chord diagrams on two intervals

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  • Jørgen Ellegaard Andersen, Denmark
  • Robert Penner, Denmark
  • Christian Reidys, Nankai University, China
  • Rita Wang, Nankai University, China
Consider all possible ways of attaching disjoint chords to two ordered and oriented disjoint intervals so as to produce a connected graph. Taking the intervals to lie in the real axis with the induced orientation and the chords to lie in the upper half plane canonically determines a corresponding fatgraph which has some associated genus $g\geq 0$, and we consider the natural generating function ${\bf C}_g^{[2]}(z)=\sum_{n\geq 0} {\bf c}^{[2]}_g(n)z^n$ for the number ${\bf c}^{[2]}_g(n)$ of distinct such chord diagrams of fixed genus $g\geq 0$ with a given number $n\geq 0$ of chords. We prove here the surprising fact that ${\bf C}^{[2]}_g(z)=z^{2g+1} R_g^{[2]}(z)/(1-4z)^{3g+2} $ is a rational function, for $g\geq 0$, where the polynomial $R^{[2]}_g(z)$ with degree at most $g$ has integer coefficients and satisfies $R_g^{[2]}({1\over 4})\neq 0$. Earlier work had already determined that the analogous generating function ${\bf C}_g(z)=z^{2g}R_g(z)/(1-4z)^{3g-{1\over 2}}$ for chords attached to a single interval is algebraic, for $g\geq 1$, where the polynomial $R_g(z)$ with degree at most $g-1$ has integer coefficients and satisfies $R_g(1/4)\neq 0$ in analogy to the generating function ${\bf C}_0(z)$ for the Catalan numbers. The new results here on ${\bf C}_g^{[2]}(z)$ rely on this earlier work, and indeed, we find that $R_g^{[2]}(z)=R_{g+1}(z) -z\sum_{g_1=1}^g R_{g_1}(z) R_{g+1-g_1}(z)$, for $g\geq 1$.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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