Date of Award

5-2014

Embargo Period

4-10-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mathematical Sciences

Advisor(s)

Irina Gheorghiciuc

Abstract

The super Catalan numbers T(m,n) = (2m)!(2n)!=2m!n!(m+n)! are integers which generalize the Catalan numbers. Since 1874, when Eugene Catalan discovered these numbers, many mathematicians have tried to find their combinatorial interpretation. This dissertation is dedicated to this open problem. In Chapter 1 we review known results on T (m,n) and their q-analog polynomials. In Chapter 2 we give a weighted interpretation for T(m,n) in terms of 2-Motzkin paths of length m+n2 and a reformulation of this interpretation in terms of Dyck paths. We then convert our weighted interpretation into a conventional combinatorial interpretation for m = 1,2. At the beginning of Chapter 2, we prove our weighted interpretation for T(m,n) by induction. In the final section of Chapter 2 we present a constructive combinatorial proof of this result based on rooted plane trees. In Chapter 3 we introduce two q-analog super Catalan numbers. We also define the q-Ballot number and provide its combinatorial interpretation. Using our q-Ballot number, we give an identity for one of the q-analog super Catalan numbers and use it to interpret a q-analog super Catalan number in the case m= 2. In Chapter 4 we review problems left open and discuss their difficulties. This includes the unimodality of some of the q-analog polynomials and the conventional combinatorial interpretation of the super Catalan numbers and their q-analogs for higher values of m.

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