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A Tutte Polynomial for Maps


We follow the example of Tutte in his construction of the dichromate of a graph (i.e. the Tutte polynomial) as a unification of the chromatic polynomial and the flow polynomial in order to construct a new polynomial invariant of maps (graphs embedded in orientable surfaces). We call this the surface Tutte polynomial. The surface Tutte polynomial of a map contains the Las Vergnas polynomial, the Bollobás–Riordan polynomial and the Krushkal polynomial as specializations. By construction, the surface Tutte polynomial includes among its evaluations the number of local tensions and local flows taking values in any given finite group. Other evaluations include the number of quasi-forests.

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