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We study Hilbert functions of certain non-reduced schemes A supported at finite sets of points in PN, in particular, fat point schemes. We give combinatorially defined upper and lower bounds for the Hilbert function of A using nothing more than the multiplicities of the points and information about which subsets of the points are linearly dependent. When N = 2, we give these bounds explicitly and we give a sufficient criterion for the upper and lower bounds to be equal. When this criterion is satisfied, we give both a simple formula for the Hilbert function and combinatorially defined upper and lower bounds on the graded Betti numbers for the ideal IA defining A, generalizing results of Geramita-Migliore-Sabourin [GMS]. We obtain the exact Hilbert functions and graded Betti numbers for many families of examples, interesting combinatorially, geometrically, and algebraically. Our method works in any characteristic.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. © 2009, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License ( The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Journal of Pure and Applied Algebra, doi: 10.1016/j.jpaa.2010.12.006

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