• random permutations;
  • permutation cycles;
  • surface triangulations


We study random surfaces constructed by glueing together N/k filled k-gons along their edges, with all (N − 1)!! = (N − 1)(N − 3)···3 · 1 pairings of the edges being equally likely. (We assume that lcm{2,k} divides N.) The Euler characteristic of the resulting surface is related to the number of cycles in a certain random permutation of {1,…,N}. Gamburd has shown that when 2 lcm{2,k} divides N, the distribution of this random permutation converges to that of the uniform distribution on the alternating group AN in the total-variation distance as N [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] ∞. We obtain large-deviations bounds for the number of cycles that, together with Gamburd's (Ann Probab 34 (2006), 1827–1848) result, allow us to derive sharp estimates for the moments of the number of cycles. These estimates allow us to confirm certain cases of conjectures made by Pippenger and Schleich (Random Struct Algorithm 28 (2006), 247–288). © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Random Struct. Alg., 2010