The Jack polynomials are a family of multivariate orthogonal polynomials dependent on a positive parameter . Orthogonality of the Jack polynomials is proved in Macdonald (1995, p. 383). The Jack polynomials have a rich history, and special cases of have been studied more extensively than others (Dumitriu et al. 2004). The following table summarizes some of these special cases.
special polynomial  
quaternion zonal polynomial  
1  Schur polynomial 
2  zonal polynomial 
Jack (19691970) originally defined the polynomials that eventually became associated with his name while attempting to evaluate an integral connected with the noncentral Wishart distribution (James 1960, Hua 1963, Dumitriu et al. 2004). Jack noted that the case were the Schur polynomials, and conjectured that were the zonal polynomials. The question of finding a combinatorial interpretation for the polynomials was raised by Foulkes (1974), and subsequently answered by Knop and Sahi (1997). Later authors then generalized many known properties of the Schur and zonal polynomials to Jack polynomials (Stanley 1989, Macdonald 1995). Jack polynomials are especially useful in the theory of random matrices (Dumitriu et al. 2004).
The Jack polynomials generalize the monomial scalar functions , which is orthogonal over the unit circle in the complex plane with weight function unity . The interval for the multivariate Jack polynomials can therefore be thought of as an dimensional torus (Dumitriu et al. 2004).
The Jack polynomials have several equivalent definitions (up to certain normalization constraints), and three common normalizations ("C," "J," and "P"). The "J" normalization makes the coefficient of the lowestorder monomial equal to exactly , while the "P" normalization is monic.
Let denote the sum of all monomials where ranges over all distinct permutations of . Then the first few Jack "J" polynomials are given by
(1)
 
(2)
 
(3)
 
(4)
 
(5)
 
(6)

(Table 1 in Dumitriu et al. 2004).
Let be a partition, then the Jack polynomials can be defined as the functions that are orthogonal with respect to the inner product
(7)

where is the Kronecker delta and , with the number of occurrences of in (Macdonald 1995, Dumitriu et al. 2004).
The Jack polynomial is the only homogeneous polynomial eigenfunction of the LaplaceBeltramitype operator
(8)

with eigenvalue having highestorder term corresponding to (Muirhead 1982, Dumitriu 2004). Here,
(9)

and is a partition of and is the number of variables.