Our main result establishes Andrews’ conjecture for the asymptotic of the generating function for the number of integer partitions of $n$ without $k$ consecutive parts. The methods we develop are applicable in obtaining asymptotics for stochastic processes that avoid patterns; as a result they yield asymptotics for the number of partitions that avoid patterns.
Holroyd, Liggett, and Romik, in connection with certain bootstrap percolation models, introduced the study of partitions without $k$ consecutive parts. Andrews showed that when $k=2$, the generating function for these partitions is a mixed-mock modular form and, thus, has modularity properties which can be utilized in the study of this generating function. For $k>2$, the asymptotic properties of the generating functions have proved more difficult to obtain. Using $q$-series identities and the $k=2$ case as evidence, Andrews stated a conjecture for the asymptotic behavior. Extensive computational evidence for the conjecture in the case $k=3$ was given by Zagier.
This paper improved upon early approaches to this problem by identifying and overcoming two sources of error. Since the writing of this paper, a more precise asymptotic result was established by Bringmann, Kane, Parry, and Rhoades. That approach uses very different methods.