The University of Michigan Combinatorics Seminar
In 1995, Stanley defined a symmetric function generalization of the
chromatic polynomial. Gebhard and Sagan then introduced an analogous
function in noncommuting variables which has the advantage of
satisfying a deletion-contraction law. These functions are also of
interest in their own right. We will survey some of their
applications to graph coloring as well as properties of a version of
the Schur function in this context.