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Explicit Limits of Total Variation Distance in Approximations of Random Logarithmic Assemblies by Related Poisson Processes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 1997

Department of Mathematics, University of Melbourne, Parkeville, VIC 3052, Australia


Assemblies are labelled combinatorial objects that can be decomposed into components. Examples of assemblies include set partitions, permutations and random mappings. In addition, a distribution from population genetics called the Ewens sampling formula may be treated as an assembly. Each assembly has a size n, and the sum of the sizes of the components sums to n. When the uniform distribution is put on all assemblies of size n, the process of component counts is equal in distribution to a process of independent Poisson variables Zi conditioned on the event that a weighted sum of the independent variables is equal to n. Logarithmic assemblies are assemblies characterized by some θ > 0 for which i[ ]Ziθ. Permutations and random mappings are logarithmic assemblies; set partitions are not a logarithmic assembly. Suppose b = b(n) is a sequence of positive integers for which b/nβ ε (0, 1]. For logarithmic assemblies, the total variation distance db(n) between the laws of the first b coordinates of the component counting process and of the first b coordinates of the independent processes converges to a constant H(β). An explicit formula for H(β) is given for β ε (0, 1] in terms of a limit process which depends only on the parameter θ. Also, it is shown that db(n) → 0 if and only if b/n → 0, generalizing results of Arratia, Barbour and Tavaré for the Ewens sampling formula. Local limit theorems for weighted sums of the Zi are used to prove these results.

Research Article
1997 Cambridge University Press

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