A tale of two polytopes: The bipermutahedron and the harmonic polytope

School of Mathematics Colloquium
Thursday, September 3, 2020 - 11:00am for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Federico Ardila – San Francisco State University – federico@sfsu.eduhttp://math.sfsu.edu/federico/
Anton Bernshteyn

This talk's recording is available here.

The harmonic polytope and the bipermutahedron are two related polytopes which arose in our work with Graham Denham and June Huh on the Lagrangian geometry of matroids. This talk will explain their geometric origin and discuss their algebraic and geometric combinatorics.

The bipermutahedron is a (2n−2)-dimensional polytope with (2n!)/2^n vertices and 3^n−3 facets. Its f-polynomial, which counts the faces of each dimension, is given by a simple evaluation of the three variable Rogers-Ramanujan function. Its h-polynomial, which gives the dimensions of the intersection cohomology of the associated topic variety, is real-rooted, so its coefficients are log-concave.

The harmonic polytope is a (2n−2)-dimensional polytope with (n!)^2(1+1/2+...+1/n) vertices and 3^n−3 facets. Its volume is a weighted sum of the degrees of the projective varieties of all the toric ideals of connected bipartite graphs with n edges; or equivalently, a weighted sum of the lattice point counts of all the corresponding trimmed generalized permutahedra.

These two polytopes are related by a surprising fact: in any dimension, the Minkowski quotient of the bipermutahedron and the harmonic polytope equals 2.

The talk will be as self-contained as possible, and will feature joint work with Graham Denham, Laura Escobar, and June Huh.