This question continues the line of inquiry of these three questions.

**Question.** Which finitely presented groups can be
distinguished by decidable properties?

To be precise, let us say that φ is a *decidable* property of finitely
presented groups, if there is a class A of finitely
presented groups, closed under group isomorphisms, such that
{ p | ⟨p⟩ ∈ A } is decidable, where ⟨p⟩ denotes the group presented by p. That is, we insist that the decision procedure give the same answer for presentations leading to the same group up to isomorphism.

One extreme case, perhaps unlikely, would be that any two non-isomorphic finitely presented groups can be distinguished by decidable properties, so that for any two finitely presented non-isomorphic groups ⟨p⟩ and ⟨q⟩, there is a decidable property φ where φ(p) holds and φ(q) fails. That would be quite remarkable.

If this is not the case, then there would be two finite group presentations p and q, such that the groups presented ⟨p⟩ and ⟨q⟩ are not isomorphic, but they have all the same decidable properties. This also would be remarkable.

Which is the case?

Another way to describe the question is in terms of the equivalence relation ≡, which I introduced in my previous question, where p ≡ q if φ(p) and φ(q) have the same answer for any decidable property φ of finitely presented groups. This is precisely the equivalence relation of "having all the same decidable properties". Of course, this includes the group-isomorphism relation, and the current question is asking: What is this relation ≡? In particular, is ≡ the same as the group isomorphism relation? If it is, then any two non-isomorphic finitely presented groups can be distinguished by decidable properties; if not, then there are two finitely presented non-isomorphic groups ⟨p⟩, ⟨q⟩ having all the same decidable properties.

Henry Wilton has emphasized several times that there are
relatively few truly interesting decidable properties of
finitely presented groups. This may very well be true.
Nevertheless, the answers to the previous MO questions on
this topic have provided at least *some* decidable
properties, and my question here is asking the extent to
which these properties are able to distinguish any two
finitely presented groups.

In particular, in these previous MO questions, Chad Groft
inquired whether there were
any nontrivial decidable properties of finitely presented
groups. John Stillwell's
answer was
that one could decide many questions about the
abelianization of the group. In a subsequent question, I
inquired whether all decidable properties were really about
the abelianization, and David Speyer's
answer was
that no, there were questions about other quotients, such
as whether the group had a nontrivial homomorphism into a
particular finite group, such as A_{5}. In a third question, David generalized further and inquired
whether all decidable properties depended on the
profinitization, and the answer again was no (provided by David and Henry). So at least
in these cases we have been increasingly able to separate
groups by decidable properties.

A generalization of the question would move beyond the decidable properties. For example, if we consider the computably enumerable (c.e.) properties, then we have quite a lot more ability to distinguish groups. A property is c.e. if there is a computable algorithm to determine the positive instances of φ(p), but without requiring the negative instances to ever converge on an answer. For example, the word problem for any finitely presented group, or indeed, for any computably presented group, is computably enumerable, since if a word is indeed trivial, we will eventually discover this. Using the same idea as David's answer to my question, it follows that the question of whether a finitely presented group ⟨p⟩ admits a nontrivial homomorphism into the integers Z, say, or many other groups, is computably enumerable. One may simply try out all possible maps of the generators. A generalization of this establishes:

**Theorem.** The question of whether one finitely
presented group ⟨p⟩ maps homomorphically onto (or into) another ⟨q⟩ is computably enumerable.

The proof is that given p and q, one can look for a map of the generators of p to the words of q, such that all relations of p are obeyed by the image in q, and such that all the generators of q are in the range of the resulting map. This is a c.e. property, since one can look for all possible candidates for the map of the generators of p into words of q, and check whether the relations are obeyed and the generators of q are in the range of the map and so on. If they are, eventually this will be observed, and at the point one can be confident that ⟨p⟩ maps onto ⟨q⟩. More generally, is the isomorphism relation itself c.e.? It is surely computable from the halting problem 0', since we could ask 0' whether the kernel of the proposed map was trivial or not, and it would know the answer.

- Where does the isomorphism relation on finitely presented groups fit into the hierarchy of Turing degrees? Is it c.e.? Is it Turing equivalent to the Halting problem?

Once one moves to the c.e. properties, it is similarly natural to move beyond the finitely presented groups to the computably presented groups (those having a computable presentation, not necessarily finitely generated). In this context, the proof above no longer works, and the natural generalization of the question asks:

- Which computably presented groups are distinguished by c.e. properties?

The isomorphism relation on finitely generated computably presented groups (given the presentations) seems to be computable from the halting problem for the same reason as in the proof above, but now one doesn't know at a finite stage that the proposed map of the generators will definitely work, since one must still check all the relations-yet-to-be-enumerated. But 0' knows the answer, so we get it computably in 0'. In the infinitely generated case, however, things are more complicated.