Kostant partition function

In representation theory, a branch of mathematics, the Kostant partition function, introduced by Bertram Kostant (1958, 1959), of a root system is the number of ways one can represent a vector (weight) as an integral non-negative sum of the positive roots . Kostant used it to rewrite the Weyl character formula for the multiplicity of a weight of an irreducible representation of a semisimple Lie algebra.

The Kostant partition function can also be defined for Kac–Moody algebras and has similar properties.

Relation to the Weyl character formula

The values of Kostant's partition function are given by the coefficients of the power series expansion of

where the product is over all positive roots, the sum is over elements of the root lattice, and is the Kostant partition function. Using Weyl's denominator formula

shows that the Weyl character formula

can also be written as

This allows the multiplicities of finite-dimensional irreducible representations in Weyl's character formula to be written as a finite sum involving values of the Kostant partition function, as these are the coefficients of the power series expansion of the denominator of the right hand side.[1]


  1. Hall 2015 Section 10.6


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