Thermodynamic Limit for the Mallows Model on $S_n$

Starr, Shannon
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The Mallows model on $S_n$ is a probability distribution on permutations, $q^{d(\pi,e)}/P_n(q)$, where $d(\pi,e)$ is the distance between $\pi$ and the identity element, relative to the Coxeter generators. Equivalently, it is the number of inversions: pairs $(i,j)$ where $1\leq i<j\leq n$, but $\pi_i>\pi_j$. Analyzing the normalization $P_n(q)$, Diaconis and Ram calculated the mean and variance of $d(\pi,e)$ in the Mallows model, which suggests the appropriate $n \to \infty$ limit has $q_n$ scaling as $1-\beta/n$. We calculate the distribution of the empirical measure in this limit, $u(x,y) dx dy = \lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{1}{n} \sum_{i=1}^{n} \delta_{(i,\pi_i)}$. Treating it as a mean-field problem, analogous to the Curie-Weiss model, the self-consistent mean-field equations are $\frac{\partial^2}{\partial x \partial y} \ln u(x,y) = 2 \beta u(x,y)$, which is an integrable PDE, known as the hyperbolic Liouville equation. The explicit solution also gives a new proof of formulas for the blocking measures in the weakly asymmetric exclusion process, and the ground state of the $\mathcal{U}_q(\mathfrak{sl}_2)$-symmetric XXZ ferromagnet.
Comment: 14 pages, several important references added
Mathematical Physics, 82B05, 82B10, 60B15