The one parameter family of Jackαmeasures on partitions is an important discrete analog of Dyson's β ensembles of random matrix theory. Except for special values of α = 1/2, 1, 2 which have group theoretic interpretations, the Jackαmeasure has been difficult if not intractable to analyze. This paper proves a central limit theorem (with an error term) for Jackαmeasure which works for arbitrary values of α. For α = 1 we recover a known central limit theorem on the distribution of character ratios of random representations of the symmetric group on transpositions. The case α = 2 gives a new central limit theorem for random spherical functions of a Gelfand pair (or equivalently for the spectrum of a natural random walk on perfect matchings in the complete graph). The proof uses Stein's method and has interesting combinatorial ingredients: an intruiging construction of an exchangeable pair, properties of Jack polynomials, and work of Hanlon relating Jack polynomials to the Metropolis algorithm. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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