, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 702-731

On the distribution of the length of the second row of a Young diagram under Plancherel measure

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Abstract.

We investigate the probability distribution of the length of the second row of a Young diagram of size N equipped with Plancherel measure. We obtain an expression for the generating function of the distribution in terms of a derivative of an associated Fredholm determinant, which can then be used to show that as \( N \to \infty \) the distribution converges to the Tracy—Widom distribution [TW1] for the second largest eigenvalue of a random GUE matrix. This paper is a sequel to [BDJ], where we showed that as \( N \to \infty \) the distribution of the length of the first row of a Young diagram, or equivalently, the length of the longest increasing subsequence of a random permutation, converges to the Tracy—Widom distribution [TW1] for the largest eigenvalue of a random GUE matrix.

Submitted: March 2000, Revised version: April 2000.