Behaviour of the Normalized Depth Function

  • Antonino Ficarra
  • Jürgen Herzog
  • Takayuki Hibi


Let $I\subset S=K[x_1,\dots,x_n]$ be a squarefree monomial ideal, $K$ a field. The $k$th squarefree power $I^{[k]}$ of $I$ is the monomial ideal of $S$ generated by all squarefree monomials belonging to $I^k$. The biggest integer $k$ such that $I^{[k]}\ne(0)$ is called the monomial grade of $I$ and it is denoted by $\nu(I)$. Let $d_k$ be the minimum degree of the monomials belonging to $I^{[k]}$. Then, $\text{depth}(S/I^{[k]})\ge d_k-1$ for all $1\le k\le\nu(I)$. The normalized depth function of $I$ is defined as $g_{I}(k)=\text{depth}(S/I^{[k]})-(d_k-1)$, $1\le k\le\nu(I)$. It is expected that $g_I(k)$ is a non-increasing function for any $I$. In this article we study the behaviour of $g_{I}(k)$ under various operations on monomial ideals. Our main result characterizes all cochordal graphs $G$ such that for the edge ideal $I(G)$ of $G$ we have $g_{I(G)}(1)=0$. They are precisely all cochordal graphs $G$ whose complementary graph $G^c$ is connected and has a cut vertex. As a far-reaching application, for given integers $1\le s<m$ we construct a graph $G$ such that $\nu(I(G))=m$ and $g_{I(G)}(k)=0$ if and only if $k=s+1,\dots,m$. Finally, we show that any non-increasing function of non-negative integers is the normalized depth function of some squarefree monomial ideal.

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