The Degree of a $q$-Holonomic Sequence is a Quadratic Quasi-Polynomial

  • Stavros Garoufalidis


A sequence of rational functions in a variable $q$ is $q$-holonomic if it satisfies a linear recursion with coefficients polynomials in $q$ and $q^n$. We prove that the degree of a $q$-holonomic sequence is eventually a quadratic quasi-polynomial, and that the leading term satisfies a linear recursion relation with constant coefficients. Our proof uses differential Galois theory (adapting proofs regarding holonomic $D$-modules to the case of $q$-holonomic $D$-modules) combined with the Lech-Mahler-Skolem theorem from number theory. En route, we use the Newton polygon of a linear $q$-difference equation, and introduce the notion of regular-singular $q$-difference equation and a WKB basis of solutions of a linear $q$-difference equation at $q=0$. We then use the Skolem-Mahler-Lech theorem to study the vanishing of their leading term. Unlike the case of $q=1$, there are no analytic problems regarding convergence of the WKB solutions. Our proofs are constructive, and they are illustrated by an explicit example.