Finiteness for the k-factor model and chirality varieties

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29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper deals with two families of algebraic varieties arising from applications. First, the k-factor model in statistics, consisting of n×n covariance matrices of n observed Gaussian random variables that are pairwise independent given k hidden Gaussian variables. Second, chirality varieties inspired by applications in chemistry. A point in such a chirality variety records chirality measurements of all k-subsets among an n-set of ligands. Both classes of varieties are given by a parameterisation, while for applications having polynomial equations would be desirable. For instance, such equations could be used to test whether a given point lies in the variety. We prove that in a precise sense, which is different for the two classes of varieties, these equations are finitely characterisable when k is fixed and n grows.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-256
JournalAdvances in Mathematics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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