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GENERIC COMBINATORIAL IDENTITIES

E. F. Cornelius, Jr.
Published in JP J Algebra, Number Theory and Applications
Vol. 31, No. 1 (2013), Pages 1-4
Abstract: Some well known combinatorial identities appear to be special
cases of more general identities in integral domains.
Let D be an integral domain (i.e., a commutative ring with 1 but without
zero divisors) embedded in its quotient eld, so that division makes sense. If
d1 ; d2 ; : : : ; dn are nonzero elements of D, n 1, and d0 = 0, then the following
relations hold:

(A)

n
P

( 1)i (dn

i=1

d0 ) (dn di
d1 di

1)

This is a generalization of the familiar combinatorial identity


n
X

(B)

( 1)i

i=1

n
i

to which (A) reduces when di = i; i = 1; 2; : : : ; n. The generalization was


proved in [1], in the context of matrix inversion in integral domains.
If dn in (A) is replaced by

(C)

n
P

i=1

dn , then

(dn +d0 ) (dn +di


d1 di

1)

= 2 (dn +d0 )

(dn +dn 2 )(dn +dn


d1 dn 1 dn

1)

which is a generalization of the identity

(D)

n
P

i=1

n+i 1
i

2n
n

to which (C) reduces when di = i; i = 1; 2; : : : ; n. This is so because


2 n(n+1)n! (2n
2n
n

1)

= 2 (n

1)!n(n+1) (2n 1)
(2n 1)!
= 2 (n
(n 1)!n!
1)!n!
(2n)!
2n(2n 1)!
(2n 1)!
= 2 (n 1)!n! .
n!n! =
n!n!

and

See [2], p. 54. More generally, when di = id; d 2 D; d 6= 0; i = 1; 2; : : : n, the


same result is obtained.
When di = d; d 2 D; d 6= 0; i = 1; 2; : : : ; n, then (C) becomes a geometric
i 1
n 1
Pn
Pn
n n
series, i=1 d(2d)
= i=1 2i 1 = 2n 1 = 2 d(2d)
1 = 2 dnd
1.
(d)i
dn

Of particular interest is the case when the di form a geometric progression.


When di = ri ; r 2 D; r 6= 0; i = 1; 2; : : : ; n, then the terms in (C) become
r n (r n +r)
r

Sn =

(r n +r i 1 )
= rn r(rn 1
ri
n i n 1

r
n i n
r
(r
i=1

Pn

i(i+1)

+ 1) ri 1 (rn i+1 + 1)=r 2 =


(r
+ 1) (rn i+1 + 1), so that
1
+ 1) (rn i+1 + 1) = 2(rn 1 + 1) (r + 1) 1 =
Qn 1
2 i=1 (ri + 1) 1.

Although the initial assumption was r 6= 0, if r = x, a complex number


satisfying jxj < 1, then the sequence of functions Sn = Sn (x) converges to some
S(x). Recall that if q(j) represents the number of partitions of the integer j
into
the generating function for the q(j) is given by
P1 distinctj parts,
Q1 j 2 N, then
k
q(j)x
=
(1
+
x
).
See
[3], Part 3.1, Generating function & Note 10.
j=0
k=1
Both thePinnite product and the innite series converge for jxj < 1, to some
1
Q(x) = j=0 q(j)xj . Thus,
S(x) = 2Q(x)

Although Sn =

n
P

i=1

(dn d0 ) (dn di
d1 di

1)

does reduce to

n
P

2n

1 when di =

i=1

i; i = 1; 2; : : : ; n, in general Sn does not appear to have a particularly compact


expression. To compute Sn , note that
n
P

i=1
(dn d0 )
d1

(dn d0 ) (dn di
d1 di

(dn d0 )(dn d1 )
+ :::
d1 d2
dn
d1 dn 1 dn ([d2

+ [dn (dn

+ [di
d1 )

(dn d0 )
d1

1)

(dn dn
dn 1

2)

(dn d0 ) (dn dn
d1 dn

dn ] + [d3
dn (dn d1 )] + : : :
dn (dn d1 ) (dn di 2 )] + : : :
(dn dn 2 )] + [(dn d1 ) (dn dn

1)

1 )]).

With the conventions that d0 = dn 1 (so that dn d0 = 1) and dn+1 = 1,


Pn+1
then Sn = d1 1dn 1 j=2 dj
dn (dn d1 ) (dn dj 2 ); i.e., when, j = 2,
the product dj
dn (dn d1 ) (dn dj 2 ) = d2
dn , and when j = n + 1,
2

that product equals (dn


n+1
P
Q
1
d1

dn

d1 )

(dn

dk (dn

dn

1 ).

Sn also can be expressed as

dl ).

j=2 j k n; 1 l j 2

The principal hurdle in attempting analogize these generic formulas to classical combinatorics is the obvious lack of symmetry analogous to ni = nn i . In
general, it is not reasonable to expect that
i = 1; : : : ; n 1.

(dn d0 ) (dn di
d1 di

1)

(dn d0 ) (dn dn
d1 dn i

REFERENCES
[1] Cornelius, E. F., Jr. and Schultz, P., "Root bases of polynomials over
integral domains", in Models, Modules and Abelian Groups (de Gruyter 2008),
238-248. The article is posted with permission at http://www.scribd.com/doc/
109726168/Root-Bases-of-Polynomials-Over-Integral-Domains.
[2] Knuth, D., Fundamental Algorithms, Vol. 1, The Art of Computer
Programming (Addison-Wesley, 2nd ed 1973)
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_(number_theory)

1)

POSTSCRIPT TO PUBLISHED VERSION


Earlier drafts of this article contained erroneous or confusing statements
that have been deleted in the published version. As noted
P1 in the article, the
generating function for distinct partitions is Q(x) = j=0 q(j)xj , which can
Q1
be expressed as the innite product PQ (x) = k=1 (1 + xk ). One relationship
that the author
to establish is that Q
between the polynomials
Pn was attempting
n
j
k
Qn (x) =
q(j)x
,
of
degree
n,
and
P
(x)
=
Q
n
j=0
k=1 (1 + x ), of degree
n(n+1)
.
2

It turns out that Qn (x) equals the rst n + 1 terms of PQn (x). To see this,
express
[a] PQn = (1 + x)(1 + x2 ) (1 + xn ) as
[b] PQn (x) = 1 + c1 x + : : : + ck xk + : : : + cn xn + : : : + c n(n

1)

n(n 1)
2

The coe cient ck of xk in [b] is the number of ways to get exponents of the
x0 s in [a] to add up to k. Since those exponents are distinct and consist of
1; 2; : : : ; k; : : : ; n, it follows that ck = q(k) for 1 k n.
An analogous
result obtains for the generating function for all partitions,
P1
P (x) = j=0 p(j)xj , where p(j) represents the number of partitions of j. Let
Pn
Pn (x) = j=0 p(j)xj . According to [3], Part 3.1, Generating function & Note
Q1
7, P (x) can be expressed as PP (x) = k=1 1 1xk . In turn,
=
PP (x) = ( 1 1 x )( 1 1x2 ) ( 1 1xk )
2
2
4
k
(1 + x + x + : : :)(1 + x + x + : : :) (1 + x + x2k + : : :) . Let
[c] PPn (x) = (1 + x + x2 + : : : + xn )(1 + x2 + x4 + : : : + x2n )
2
(1 + xn + x2n + : : : + xn ) =
[d] (1 + x1 + x1+1 + : : : + x1+:::+1 )(1 + x2 + x2+2 + : : : + x2+:::+2 )
(1 + xn + xn+n + : : : + xn+:::+n ).

As before, PPn (x) can be written as


[e] PPn (x) = 1 + c1 x + : : : + ck xk + : : : + cn xn + : : : + c n2 (n

1)

n2 (n
2

1)

The coe cient ck of xk in [e] is the number of ways in which exponents of the
x0 s taken from one or more of the polynomials in [d] add up to k. See [4], p. 3,
Equation (2.3), and [3], Part 3.1, Generating function. The number of ways is
just p(k) for 1 k n, so that the rst n + 1 terms of PPn (x) are the same as
the terms of Pn (x).
Suppose
P k0 + k1 + : : : is a partition of n, k0 + k1 + : : : = n. Then it seems
that
(k0 + k1 + : : : ) is the sum of all partitions of n; i.e., that
k0 k1 :::
k0 +k1 +:::=n

(k0 + k1 + : : : ) = np(n), or p(n) =

k0 k1 :::
k0 +k1 +:::=n

1
n

(k0 + k1 + : : : ). The

k0 k1 :::
k0 +k1 +:::=n

P1
generating function P (x) = j=0 p(j)xj then could be written as
1
P
P
n
P (x) =
[
(k0 + k1 + : : : )] xn with the usual combinatorial conn=0

k0 k1 :::
k0 +k1 +:::=n

vention about 0; in this case, 0 x0 = 1.


Similarly,
P
(k0 + k1 + : : : ) = nq(n), or q(n) =
k0 >k1 >:::
k0 +k1 +:::=n

Q(x) =

1
P

n=0

k0 >k1 >:::
k0 +k1 +:::=n

1
n

(k0 + k1 + : : : ) and

k0 >k1 >:::
k0 +k1 +:::=n
n

(k0 + k1 + : : :)] xn .

However, the utility of these latter expressions is unclear to the author.


REFERENCES
[1], [2] and [3] denote the references in the article. Readers skeptical of using
Wikipedia as a reference may be relieved to know that Princeton University
does. http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Partition_%
28number_theory%29.html.
[4] denotes http://www.math.psu.edu/vstein/alg/antheory/preprint/andrews/
chapter.pdf.
ANOTHER GENERIC IDENTITY
In an integral domain embedded in its quotient eld, if ai 6= 1, then
an
1
2
1 + 1 a1a1 + (1 a1a)(1
a2 ) + : : : + (1 a1 ) (1 an ) = (1 a1 ) (1 an ) . In the domain of integers, if an = n + 1, n = 0; 1; : : : ; n, then 1 + 2=1! + 3=2! + 4=3! + ::: +
(n + 1)=n! = 1=n!. See http://www.linkedin.com/groups/algebraic-identity-innumber-theory-4510047.S.5816553869760548865?qid=167e8f1c-8c7c-444a-b15bd3f740944753&trk=groups_items_see_more-0-b-ttl.
GENERIC IDENTITIES
FOR COMPLETE HOMOGENEOUS SYMMETRIC POLYNOMIALS

Some classical identities for complete homogeneous symmetric polynomials


are generic and may even hold for commutative rings with identity. See "Identities for complete homogeneous symmetric polynomials", JP J Algebra, Number
Theory and Applications, Vol. 21, No. 1 (2011), 109-116; http://www.scribd.com
/doc/16010484/Identities-for-Complete-Homogeneous-Symmetric-Polynomials.
BOUTINS IDENTITIES ARE GENERIC
Boutins identities are generic. For characteristic 6= 0, terms may equal 0.
https://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussion
ID=5853868262944694276&gid=4510047&commentID=5857882543507922944&
trk=view_disc&fromEmail=&ut=32vF0siYJIbCc1.