Markov chains, $\mathscr R$-trivial monoids and representation theory
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Markov chains, $\mathscr R$-trivial monoids and representation theory

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We develop a general theory of Markov chains realizable as random walks on $\mathscr R$-trivial monoids. It provides explicit and simple formulas for the eigenvalues of the transition matrix, for multiplicities of the eigenvalues via M\"obius inversion along a lattice, a condition for diagonalizability of the transition matrix and some techniques for bounding the mixing time. In addition, we discuss several examples, such as Toom-Tsetlin models, an exchange walk for finite Coxeter groups, as well as examples previously studied by the authors, such as nonabelian sandpile models and the promotion Markov chain on posets. Many of these examples can be viewed as random walks on quotients of free tree monoids, a new class of monoids whose combinatorics we develop.

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