Permutations, moments, measures

Natasha Blitvic, Einar Steingrimsson

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Which combinatorial sequences correspond to moments of probability measures on the real line? We present a generating function, in the form of a continued fraction, for a fourteenparameter family of such sequences and interpret these in terms of combinatorial statistics on the symmetric groups. Special cases include several classical and noncommutative probability laws, along with a substantial subset of the orthogonalizing measures in the q-Askey scheme, now given a new combinatorial interpretation in terms of elementary permutation statistics. This framework further captures a variety of interesting combinatorial sequences including, notably, the moment sequences associated to distributions of the numbers of occurrences of (classical and vincular) permutation patterns of length three. This connection between pattern avoidance and broader ideas in classical and noncommutative probability is among several intriguing new corollaries, which generalize and unify results previously appearing in the literature, while opening up new lines of inquiry.

The fourteen combinatorial statistics further generalize to signed and colored permutations, and, as an infinite family of statistics, to the k-arrangements: permutations with k-colored fixed points, introduced here along with several related results and conjectures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)n/a
JournalTransactions of the American Mathematical Society
Early online date1 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2020


  • probability measures
  • combinatorial sequences
  • permutation patterns


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