Staircase tilings and k-Catalan structures

Silvia Heubach, Nelson Y. Li, Toufik Mansour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many interesting combinatorial objects are enumerated by the k-Catalan numbers, one possible generalization of the Catalan numbers. We will present a new combinatorial object that is enumerated by the k-Catalan numbers, staircase tilings. We give a bijection between staircase tilings and k-good paths, and between k-good paths and k-ary trees. In addition, we enumerate k-ary paths according to DD, UDU, and UU, and connect these statistics for k-ary paths to statistics for the staircase tilings. Using the given bijections, we enumerate statistics on the staircase tilings, and obtain connections with Catalan numbers for special values of k. The second part of the paper lists a sampling of other combinatorial structures that are enumerated by the k-Catalan numbers. Many of the proofs generalize from those for the Catalan structures that are being generalized, but we provide one proof that is not a straightforward generalization. We propose a web site repository for these structures, similar to those maintained by Richard Stanley for the Catalan numbers [R.P. Stanley, Catalan addendum. Available at:] and by Robert Sulanke for the Delannoy numbers [R. Sulanke, Objects counted by the central Delannoy numbers, J. Integer Seq. 6 (1) (2003), Article 03, 1, 5, 19 pp. Available also at:]. On the website, we list additional combinatorial objects, together with hints on how to show that they are indeed enumerated by the k-Catalan numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5954-5964
Number of pages11
JournalDiscrete Mathematics
Issue number24
StatePublished - 28 Dec 2008


  • Set-valued Young tableau
  • Staircase tiling
  • k-Catalan number
  • k-ary number
  • k-ary tree

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics


Dive into the research topics of 'Staircase tilings and k-Catalan structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this