This is an invited survey on the relation between the partition function of the Potts model and the Tutte polynomial. On the assumption that the Potts model is more familiar we have concentrated on the latter and its interpretations. In particular we highlight the connections with Abelian sandpiles, counting problems on random graphs, error correcting codes, and the Ehrhart polynomial of a zonotope. Where possible we use the mean field and square lattice as illustrations. We also discuss in some detail the complexity issues involved.

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