Generalizations of Bell Number Formulas of Spivey and Mezo

Mark Shattuck


    We provide q-generalizations of Spivey’s Bell number formula in various settings by considering statistics on different combinatorial structures. This leads to new identities involving q-Stirling numbers of both kinds and q-Lah numbers. As corollaries, we obtain identities for both binomial and q-binomial coefficients. Our results at the same time also generalize recent r-Stirling number formulas of Mezo.  Finally, we provide a combinatorial proof and refinement of Xu’s extension of Spivey’s formula to the generalized Stirling numbers of Hsu and Shiue. To do so, we develop a combinatorial interpretation for these numbers in terms of extended Lah distributions.

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