MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Cancellation theorem in group theory (for direct product) says that if $B$ is a finite group and $A \times B \simeq A_1 \times B_1$ and $B \simeq B_1$ then $A \simeq A_1.$

Of course, if $B$ is not finite, the result is absurd, even for finitely presented groups (Here is an example by Steve)

I wonder whether the cancellation theorem holds for different products (in finite or infinite cases), such as semi-direct product, free product, fiber product over a given group, Zappa-Szep product (knit product), Wreath product.

share|cite|improve this question
Which of these various examples have you already tried? – Yemon Choi Dec 14 '11 at 5:58
There's an inherent lack of symmetry in other products, like the semidirect product or wreath product. Which of the two subgroups involved would you like to cancel? I'm pretty sure there are counterexamples for either one though. – Steve D Dec 14 '11 at 6:03
Consider the maps of short exact sequences in the case of semidirect products... – David Roberts Dec 14 '11 at 6:43
Here's a counterexample for knit products:… Of course, knit products and semidirect products are more general than direct products, so the counterexample you cited above works in both those cases as well. – Steve D Dec 14 '11 at 8:04
I think the question is a little bit to vague and unfocused. – Martin Brandenburg Dec 14 '11 at 11:44

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.