Sign Variation and Descents

  • Nantel Bergeron
  • Aram Dermenjian
  • John Machacek


For any $n > 0$ and $0 \leq m < n$, let $P_{n,m}$ be the poset of projective equivalence classes of $\{-,0,+\}$-vectors of length $n$ with sign variation bounded by $m$, ordered by reverse inclusion of the positions of zeros. Let $\Delta_{n,m}$ be the order complex of $P_{n,m}$. A previous result from the third author shows that $\Delta_{n,m}$ is Cohen-Macaulay over $\mathbb{Q}$ whenever $m$ is even or $m = n-1$. Hence, it follows that the $h$-vector of $\Delta_{n,m}$ consists of nonnegative entries. Our main result states that $\Delta_{n,m}$ is partitionable and we give an interpretation of the $h$-vector when  $m$ is even or $m = n-1$. When $m = n-1$ the entries of the $h$-vector turn out to be the new Eulerian numbers of type $D$ studied by Borowiec and Młotkowski in [ Electron. J. Combin., 23(1):#P1.38, 2016]. We then combine our main result with Klee's generalized Dehn-Sommerville relations to give a geometric proof of some facts about these Eulerian numbers of type $D$.

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