The Horn inequalities from a geometric point of view

  • Nicole Berline

    École Polytechnique, Annecy, France
  • Michèle Vergne

    Université Paris-Diderot Paris 7, Paris, France
  • Michael Walter

    University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


We give an exposition of the Horn inequalities and their triple role characterizing tensor product invariants, eigenvalues of sums of Hermitian matrices, and intersections of Schubert varieties. We follow Belkale’s geometric method, but assume only basic representation theory and algebraic geometry, aiming for self-contained, concrete proofs. In particular, we do not assume the Littlewood–Richardson rule nor an a priori relation between intersections of Schubert cells and tensor product invariants. Our motivation is largely pedagogical, but the desire for concrete approaches is also motivated by current research in computational complexity theory and effective algorithms.

Cite this article

Nicole Berline, Michèle Vergne, Michael Walter, The Horn inequalities from a geometric point of view. Enseign. Math. 63 (2017), no. 3/4, pp. 403–470

DOI 10.4171/LEM/63-3/4-7