We define parallelograms of base a and b in a group. They appear as minimal relators in a presentation of a subgroup with generators a and b. In a Lie group they are realized as closed polygonal lines, with sides being orbits of left-invariant vector fields. We estimate the number of sides of parallelograms in a free nilpotent group and point out a relation to the rank of rational series.

We consider the standard Quicksort algorithm that sorts n distinct keys with all possible n! orderings of keys being equally likely. Equivalently, we analyze the total path length L(n) in a randomly built \emphbinary search tree. Obtaining the limiting distribution of L(n) is still an outstanding open problem. In this paper, we establish an integral equation for the probability density of the number of comparisons L(n). Then, we investigate the large deviations of L(n). We shall show that the left tail of the limiting distribution is much ''thinner'' (i.e., double exponential) than the right tail (which is only exponential). Our results contain some constants that must be determined numerically. We use formal asymptotic methods of applied mathematics such as the WKB method and matched asymptotics.

We prove the existence of an invariant ring \textbfC[X_1,...,X_n]^T generated by elements with a total degree of at most 2, which has no finite SAGBI basis with respect to any admissible order. Therefore, 2 is the optimal lower bound for the total degree of generators of invariant rings with such a property.