A Closer Look at Lattice Points in Rational Simplices

  • Matthias Beck


We generalize Ehrhart's idea of counting lattice points in dilated rational polytopes: Given a rational simplex, that is, an $n$-dimensional polytope with $n+1$ rational vertices, we use its description as the intersection of $n+1$ halfspaces, which determine the facets of the simplex. Instead of just a single dilation factor, we allow different dilation factors for each of these facets. We give an elementary proof that the lattice point counts in the interior and closure of such a vector-dilated simplex are quasipolynomials satisfying an Ehrhart-type reciprocity law. This generalizes the classical reciprocity law for rational polytopes. As an example, we derive a lattice point count formula for a rectangular rational triangle, which enables us to compute the number of lattice points inside any rational polygon.

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