Counting quadrant walks via Tutte's invariant method

Abstract : In the 1970s, William Tutte developed a clever algebraic approach, based on certain ``invariants'', to solve a functional equation that arises in the enumeration of properly colored triangulations. The enumeration of plane lattice walks confined to the first quadrant is governed by similar equations, and has led in the past 15 years to a rich collection of attractive results dealing with the nature (algebraic, D-finite or not) of the associated generating function, depending on the set of allowed steps, taken in $\{-1, 0,1\}^2$. We first adapt Tutte's approach to prove (or reprove) the algebraicity of all quadrant models known or conjectured to be algebraic. This includes Gessel's famous model, and the first proof ever found for one model with weighted steps. To be applicable, the method requires the existence of two rational functions called invariant and decoupling function respectively. When they exist, algebraicity follows almost automatically. Then, we move to a complex analytic viewpoint that has already proved very powerful, leading in particular to integral expressions of the generating function in the non-D-finite cases, as well as to proofs of non-D-finiteness. We develop in this context a weaker notion of invariant. Now all quadrant models have invariants, and for those that have in addition a decoupling function, we obtain integral-free expressions of the generating function, and a proof that this series is D-algebraic (that is, satisfies polynomial differential equations).
Type de document :
Pré-publication, Document de travail
54 pages, 10 figures, 10 tables. 2017
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Contributeur : Kilian Raschel <>
Soumis le : lundi 11 septembre 2017 - 16:35:08
Dernière modification le : mercredi 21 mars 2018 - 10:54:03


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  • HAL Id : hal-01577762, version 2



Olivier Bernardi, Mireille Bousquet-Mélou, Kilian Raschel. Counting quadrant walks via Tutte's invariant method. 54 pages, 10 figures, 10 tables. 2017. 〈hal-01577762v2〉



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