Combinatorics of rooted trees and Hopf algebras

Michael E. Hoffman


We begin by considering the graded vector space with a basis consisting of rooted trees, graded by the count of non-root vertices. We define two linear operators on this vector space, the growth and pruning operators, which respectively raise and lower grading; their commutator is the operator that multiplies a rooted tree by its number of vertices. We define an inner product with respect to which the growth and pruning operators are adjoint, and obtain several results about the multiplicities associated with each operator.

The symmetric algebra on the vector space of rooted trees (after a degree shift) can be endowed with a coproduct to make a Hopf algebra; this was defined by Kreimer in connection with renormalization. We extend the growth and pruning operators, as well as the inner product mentioned above, to Kreimer's Hopf algebra. On the other hand, the vector space of rooted trees itself can be given a noncommutative multiplication: with an appropriate coproduct, this gives the Hopf algebra of Grossman and Larson. We show the inner product on rooted trees leads to an isomorphism of the Grossman-Larson Hopf algebra with the graded dual of Kreimer's Hopf algebra, correcting an earlier result of Panaite.

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