Mathematical Research Letters

Volume 19 (2012)

Number 4

Free resolutions and sparse determinantal ideals

Pages: 805 – 821



Adam Boocher ( Department of Mathematics, University of California at Berkeley)


A sparse generic matrix is a matrix whose entries are distinct variables and zeros. Such matrices were studied by Giusti and Merle who computed some invariants of their ideals of maximal minors. In this paper, we extend these results by computing a minimal free resolution for all such sparse determinantal ideals. We do so by introducing a technique for pruning minimal free resolutions when a subset of the variables is set to zero. Our technique correctly computes a minimal free resolution in two cases of interest: resolutions of monomial ideals, and ideals resolved by the Eagon–Northcott Complex. As a consequence we can show that sparse determinantal ideals have a linear resolution over Z, and that the projective dimension only depends on the number of columns of the matrix that are identically zero. We show this resolution is a direct summand of an Eagon–Northcott complex. Finally, we show that all such ideals have the property that regardless of the term order chosen, the Betti numbers of the ideal and its initial ideal are the same. In particular, the nonzero generators of these ideals form a universal Gröbner basis.

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