Sixty years of moments for random matrices

  • Werner Kirsch

    FernUniversität Hagen, Germany
  • Thomas Kriecherbauer

    Universität Bayreuth, Germany
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This is an elementary review, aimed at non-specialists, of results that have been obtained for the limiting distribution of eigenvalues and for the operator norms of real symmetric random matrices via the method of moments. This method goes back to a remarkable argument of Eugene Wigner some sixty years ago which works best for independent matrix entries, as far as symmetry permits, that are all centered and have the same variance. We then discuss variations of this classical result for ensembles for which the variance may depend on the distance of the matrix entry to the diagonal, including in particular the case of band random matrices, and/or for which the required independence of the matrix entries is replaced by some weaker condition. This includes results on ensembles with entries from Curie–Weiss random variables or from sequences of exchangeable random variables that have been obtained quite recently.