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Boundary partitions in trees and dimers

Thursday 24th April 2008 - 10:00 to 11:00
INI Seminar Room 1

Given a finite planar graph, a grove is a spanning forest in which every component tree contains one or more of a specified set of vertices (called nodes) on the outer face. For the uniform measure on groves, we compute the probabilities of the different possible node connections in a grove. These probabilities only depend on boundary measurements of the graph and not on the actual graph structure, i.e., the probabilities can be expressed as functions of the pairwise electrical resistances between the nodes, or equivalently, as functions of the Dirichlet-to-Neumann operator (or response matrix) on the nodes. These formulae can be likened to generalizations (for spanning forests) of Cardy's percolation crossing probabilities, and generalize Kirchhoff's formula for the electrical resistance. Remarkably, when appropriately normalized, the connection probabilities are in fact integer-coefficient polynomials in the matrix entries, where the coefficients have a natural combinatorial interpretation. A similar phenomenon holds in the so-called double-dimer model: connection probabilities of boundary nodes are polynomial functions of certain boundary measurements, and as formal polynomials, they are specializations of the grove polynomials. Upon taking scaling limits, we show that the double-dimer connection probabilities coincide with those of the contour lines in the Gaussian free field with certain natural boundary conditions. These results have direct application to connection probabilities for multiple-strand SLE_2, SLE_8, and SLE_4.

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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons