Trees, Forests, and Total Positivity: I. $q$-Trees and $q$-Forests Matrices

  • Tomack Gilmore


We consider matrices with entries that are polynomials in $q$ arising from natural $q$-generalisations of two well-known formulas that count: forests on $n$ vertices with $k$ components; and rooted labelled trees on $n+1$ vertices where $k$ children of the root are lower-numbered than the root. We give a combinatorial interpretation of the corresponding statistic on forests and trees and show, via the construction of various planar networks and the Lindström-Gessel-Viennot lemma, that these matrices are coefficientwise totally positive. We also exhibit generalisations of the entries of these matrices to polynomials in eight indeterminates, and present some conjectures concerning the coefficientwise Hankel-total positivity of their row-generating polynomials.

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