Subgroups of p-groups

If $G$ is a (non-abelian) $p$-group, $|G|=p^n$, $n>3$, then it is elementary that $G$ contains a (normal) abelian subgroup of $p^2$. It is also true that $G$ necessarily contains a normal abelian subgroup of order $p^3$ (Group Theory - W. R. Scott).

1) What is the largest possible value of $m$ such that any non-abelian group of order $p^n$ contains a normal abelian subgroup of order $p^m$?

2) What is the latgest possible value of $m$ such that any non-abelian group of order $p^n$ contains an abelian subgroup of order $p^m$?

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Here are some suggested references: G A Miller, On the number of abelian subgroups.. in Messenger Math 36 (1906/7). SC Dancs, Abelian subgroups of finite $p$-groups in Trans AMS 169 (1972). Miller shows a group of order $p^n$ has a normal abelian subgroup of order $p^m$ where $m(m+1)/2 \geq n$. – mt Mar 2 2011 at 11:35
@mt, your comment should be an answer (after you correct the inequality). – S. Carnahan Mar 2 2011 at 13:11
books.google.com/… – Steve D Mar 2 2011 at 16:26
should be tagged p-groups – Alexander Chervov Sep 18 at 6:17

I've been asked to post the following as an answer, although it does not answer either of your questions (i.e. it does not provide the largest $m$).

Here are some suggested references: G A Miller, On the number of abelian subgroups.. in Messenger Math 36 (1906/7). SC Dancs, Abelian subgroups of finite $p$-groups in Trans AMS 169 (1972). Miller shows a group of order $p^n$ has a normal abelian subgroup of order $p^m$ for some $m$ such that $m (m+1)/2 \geq n$. The inequality is correct. Huppert's Endliche Gruppen book is cited there as an alternative proof of Miller's paper (what I remember of that paper is that it is very hard to read).

Edit: a better reference is Zassenhaus's book `The Theory of Groups', IV.3.4. There you find a simple argument for the lower bound above. It's clear from his proof that the lower bound can be improved if you have control of the number of generators of a maximal normal abelian subgroup, for example in the case that the big group is regular.

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 G. A. Miller has lots of amazing results, and a quite unique writing style. I is always nice to get an excuse to read him :) – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez Apr 18 2011 at 17:13

George Glauberman and also Jon Alperin and George Glauberman together have written papers on this topic in recent years. One example is: "A note on abelian subgroups of p-groups." Groups St. Andrews 2005. Vol. 2, 445–447, London Math. Soc. Lecture Note Ser., 340, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2007.

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 Yakov Berkovich also has a series of papers on subgroups of finite $p$-groups. For example: Y. Berkovich, On abelian subgroups of $p$-groups, J. Algebra 199 (1998), 262--280. – Primoz Apr 18 2011 at 14:23