Eulerian quasisymmetric functions

John Shareshian and Michelle L. Wachs

Abstract: We introduce a family of quasisymmetric functions called {\em Eulerian quasisymmetric functions}, which have the property of specializing to enumerators for the joint distribution of the permutation statistics, major index and excedance number on permutations of fixed cycle type. This family is analogous to a family of quasisymmetric functions that Gessel and Reutenauer used to study the joint distribution of major index and descent number on permutations of fixed cycle type. Our central result is a formula for the generating function for the Eulerian quasisymmetric functions, which specializes to a new and surprising $q$-analog of a classical formula of Euler for the exponential generating function of the Eulerian polynomials. This $q$-analog computes the joint distribution of excedance number and major index, the only of the four important Euler-Mahonian distributions that had not yet been computed. Our study of the Eulerian quasisymmetric functions also yields results that include the descent statistic and refine results of Gessel and Reutenauer. We also obtain $q$-analogs, $(q,p)$-analogs and quasisymmetric function analogs of classical results on the symmetry and unimodality of the Eulerian polynomials. Our Eulerian quasisymmetric functions refine symmetric functions that have occurred in various representation theoretic and enumerative contexts such as in MacMahon's study of multiset derangements, in work of Procesi and Stanley on toric varieties of Coxeter complexes, in Stanley's work on symmetric chromatic polynomials, and in the work of the authors on the homology of a certain poset introduced by Bj\"orner and Welker.

This paper is available as:

Return to preprints page