Discrete Dirac Operators, Critical Embeddings and Ihara-Selberg Functions

  • Martin Loebl
  • Petr Somberg
Keywords: Discrete conformal structure, critical embedding, Ihara-Selberg function, Ising partition function


The aim of the paper is to formulate a discrete analogue of the claim made by Alvarez-Gaume et al., realizing the partition function of the free fermion on a closed Riemann surface of genus $g$ as a linear combination of $2^{2g}$ Pfaffians of Dirac operators. Let $G=(V,E)$ be a finite graph embedded in a closed Riemann surface $X$ of genus $g$, $x_e$ the collection of independent variables associated with each edge $e$ of $G$ (collected in one vector variable $x$) and $\S$ the set of all $2^{2g}$ spin-structures on $X$.  We introduce $2^{2g}$ rotations $rot_s$ and $(2|E|\times 2|E|)$ matrices $\Delta(s)(x)$, $s\in \Sigma$, of the transitions between the oriented edges of $G$ determined by rotations $rot_s$. We show that the generating function of the even sets of edges of $G$, i.e., the Ising partition function, is a linear combination of the square roots of $2^{2g}$ Ihara-Selberg functions $I(\Delta(s)(x))$ also called Feynman functions. By a result of Foata and Zeilberger $I(\Delta(s)(x))=\det(I-\Delta'(s)(x))$, where $\Delta'(s)(x)$ is obtained from $\Delta(s)(x)$ by replacing some entries by $0$. Thus each Feynman function is computable in a polynomial time. We suggest that in the case of critical embedding of a bipartite graph $G$, the Feynman functions provide suitable discrete analogues for the Pfaffians of Dirac operators.

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