Necessary Conditions for Schur-Maximality
Keywords: Cell transfer, Equitable ribbon, Littlewood-Richardson rule, Ribbon Schur function, Schur-positive, Skew shape, Symmetric function
AbstractMcNamara and Pylyavskyy conjectured precisely which connected skew shapes are maximal in the Schur-positivity order, which says that $B\leq _s A$ if $s_A-s_B$ is Schur-positive. Towards this, McNamara and van Willigenburg proved that it suffices to study equitable ribbons, namely ribbons whose row lengths are all of length $a$ or $(a+1)$ for $a\geq 2$. In this paper we confirm the conjecture of McNamara and Pylyavskyy in all cases where the comparable equitable ribbons form a chain. We also confirm a conjecture of McNamara and van Willigenburg regarding which equitable ribbons in general are minimal.
Additionally, we establish two sufficient conditions for the difference of two ribbons to be Schur-positive, which manifest as diagrammatic operations on ribbons. We also deduce two necessary conditions for the difference of two equitable ribbons to be Schur-positive that rely on rows of length $a$ being at the end, or on rows of length $(a+1)$ being evenly distributed.