Pruned Double Hurwitz Numbers

  • Marvin Anas Hahn
Keywords: Hurwitz numbers, Branching graphs, Ribbon graphs


Hurwitz numbers count ramified genus $g$, degree $d$ coverings of the projective line with fixed branch locus and fixed ramification data. Double Hurwitz numbers count such covers, where we fix two special profiles over $0$ and $\infty$ and only simple ramification else. These objects feature interesting structural behaviour and connections to geometry. In this paper, we introduce the notion of pruned double Hurwitz numbers, generalizing the notion of pruned simple Hurwitz numbers in Do and Norbury. We show that pruned double Hurwitz numbers, similar to usual double Hurwitz numbers, satisfy a cut-and-join recursion and are piecewise polynomial with respect to the entries of the two special ramification profiles. Furthermore, double Hurwitz numbers can be computed from pruned double Hurwitz numbers. To sum up, it can be said that pruned double Hurwitz numbers count a relevant subset of covers, leading to considerably smaller numbers and computations, but still featuring the important properties we can observe for double Hurwitz numbers.
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