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A Curious Family of Binomial Determinants That Count Rhombus Tilings of a Holey Hexagon

by   Christoph Koutschan, et al.

We evaluate a curious determinant, first mentioned by George Andrews in 1980 in the context of descending plane partitions. Our strategy is to combine the famous Desnanot-Jacobi-Carroll identity with automated proof techniques. More precisely, we follow the holonomic ansatz that was proposed by Doron Zeilberger in 2007. We derive a compact and nice formula for Andrews's determinant, and use it to solve a challenge problem that we posed in a previous paper. By noting that Andrew's determinant is a special case of a two-parameter family of determinants, we find closed forms for several one-parameter subfamilies. The interest in these determinants arises because they count cyclically symmetric rhombus tilings of a hexagon with several triangular holes inside.


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