Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mathematics and Statistics

Major Professor

Arcadii Grinshpan, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Nata˘sa Jonoska, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Campbell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brendan Nagle, Ph.D

Committee Member

Masahico Saito, Ph.D.


Braid Index, Complete Monotonicity, Double Occurrence Words, Prime-Producing Polynomials, Quadratic Diophantine Equations, Ratios of Successive Moments


Recursion is a fundamental tool of mathematics used to define, construct, and analyze mathematical objects. This work employs induction, sieving, inversion, and other recursive methods to solve a variety of problems in the areas of algebraic number theory, topological and combinatorial graph theory, and analytic probability and statistics. A common theme of recursively defined functions, weighted sums, and cross-referencing sequences arises in all three contexts, and supplemented by sieving methods, generating functions, asymptotics, and heuristic algorithms.

In the area of number theory, this work generalizes the sieve of Eratosthenes to a sequence of polynomial values called polynomial-value sieving. In the case of quadratics, the method of polynomial-value sieving may be characterized briefly as a product presentation of two binary quadratic forms. Polynomials for which the polynomial-value sieving yields all possible integer factorizations of the polynomial values are called recursively-factorable. The Euler and Legendre prime producing polynomials of the form n2+n+p and 2n2+p, respectively, and Landau's n2+1 are shown to be recursively-factorable. Integer factorizations realized by the polynomial-value sieving method, applied to quadratic functions, are in direct correspondence with the lattice point solutions (X,Y) of the conic sections aX2+bXY +cY2+X-nY=0. The factorization structure of the underlying quadratic polynomial is shown to have geometric properties in the space of the associated lattice point solutions of these conic sections.

In the area of combinatorial graph theory, this work considers two topological structures that are used to model the process of homologous genetic recombination: assembly graphs and chord diagrams. The result of a homologous recombination can be recorded as a sequence of signed permutations called a micronuclear arrangement. In the assembly graph model, each micronuclear arrangement corresponds to a directed Hamiltonian polygonal path within a directed assembly graph. Starting from a given assembly graph, we construct all the associated micronuclear arrangements. Another way of modeling genetic rearrangement is to represent precursor and product genes as a sequence of blocks which form arcs of a circle. Associating matching blocks in the precursor and product gene with chords produces a chord diagram. The braid index of a chord diagram can be used to measure the scope of interaction between the crossings of the chords. We augment the brute force algorithm for computing the braid index to utilize a divide and conquer strategy. Both assembly graphs and chord diagrams are closely associated with double occurrence words, so we classify and enumerate the double occurrence words based on several notions of irreducibility. In the area of analytic probability, moments abstractly describe the shape of a probability distribution. Over the years, numerous varieties of moments such as central moments, factorial moments, and cumulants have been developed to assist in statistical analysis. We use inversion formulas to compute high order moments of various types for common probability distributions, and show how the successive ratios of moments can be used for distribution and parameter fitting. We consider examples for both simulated binomial data and the probability distribution affiliated with the braid index counting sequence. Finally we consider a sequence of multiparameter binomial sums which shares similar properties with the moment sequences generated by the binomial and beta-binomial distributions. This sequence of sums behaves asymptotically like the high order moments of the beta distribution, and has completely monotonic properties.

Included in

Mathematics Commons