Questions on group theory which concern finite groups.

**23**

votes

**2**answers

998 views

### Realizing groups as commutator subgroups

What are the groups $X$ for which there exists a group $G$ such that $G' \cong X$?
My considerations:
$\bullet$ If $X$ is perfect we are happy with $G=X$.
$\bullet$ If $X$ is abelian then $G := X ...

**23**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Are there two groups which are categorically Morita equivalent but only one of which is simple

Can you find two finite groups G and H such that their representation categories are Morita equivalent (which is to say that there's an invertible bimodule category over these two monoidal categories) ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Order of products of elements in symmetric groups

Let $n \in \mathbb{N}$. Is it true that for any $a, b, c \in \mathbb{N}$ satisfying
$1 < a, b, c \leq n-2$ the symmetric group ${\rm S}_n$ has elements of order $a$ and $b$
whose product has order ...

**23**

votes

**1**answer

952 views

### Monstrous Moonshine for Thompson group $Th$?

I. As a background, in Traces of Singular Moduli (p.2), Zagier defines the modular form of weight 3/2,
$$g(\tau) = \frac{\eta^2(\tau)}{\eta(2\tau)}\frac{E_4(4\tau)}{\eta^6(4\tau)}=\vartheta_4(\tau)\, ...

**22**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Measures of non-abelian-ness

Let $G$ be a finite non-abelian group of $n$ elements.
I would like a measure that intuitively captures the
extent to which $G$ is non-commutative.
One easy measure is a count of the non-commutative ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Definition of “finite group of Lie type”?

The list of finite simple groups of Lie type has been understood for half a century, modulo some differences in notation (and identifications between some of the very small groups coming from ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

452 views

### Uniform proof that a finite (irreducible real) reflection group is determined by its degrees?

Given a finite (irreducible real) group $G$ generated by reflections acting on euclidean $n$-space, it was shown by Chevalley in the 1950s that the algebra of invariants of $G$ in the associated ...

**22**

votes

**0**answers

502 views

### Next steps on formal proof of classification of finite simple groups

While people are steaming ahead on finessing the proof of the classification of finite simple groups (CFSG), we have a formal proof in Coq of one of the first major components: the Feit-Thompson ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

808 views

### Statistics of irreps of S_n that can be read off the Young diagram, and consequences of Kerov-Vershik

Alexei Oblomkov recently told me about the beautiful theorem of Kerov and Vershik, which says that "almost all Young diagrams look the same." More precisely: take a random irreducible representation ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

797 views

### Nilpotency of a group by looking at orders of elements

For any finite group $G$, let
$$\theta(G) := \sum_{g \in G} \frac{o(g)}{\phi(o(g))},$$
where $o(g)$ denotes the order of the element $g$ in $G$, and where $\phi$ is the Euler totient function.
It is ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

968 views

### In an inductive family of groups, does the probability that a particular word is satisfied converge?

We have some group word $w$ in $k$ letters. We say a $k$-tuple of group elements $\vec{g} = (g_1, g_2, \ldots , g_k) \in G^k$ satisfies the word $w$ if $w$ gives the identity at $\vec{g}$. More ...

**21**

votes

**0**answers

279 views

### Guess that group via product queries

Suppose someone (person B) knows a finite group $G$ of order $n$.
You (person A) know only the order $n$,
and that $1$ is the name of the identity element.
The group elements are named $1,2,\ldots,n$ ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What is this subgroup of $\mathfrak S_{12}$?

On some occasion I was gifted a calendar. It displays a math quizz every day of the year. Not really exciting in general, but at least one of them let me raise a group-theoretic question.
The quizz: ...

**20**

votes

**11**answers

2k views

### Conjugacy classes in finite groups that remain conjugacy classes when restricted to proper subgroups

In a forthcoming paper with Venkatesh and Westerland, we require the following funny definition. Let G be a finite group and c a conjugacy class in G. We say the pair (G,c) is nonsplitting if, for ...

**20**

votes

**1**answer

977 views

### Monstrous moonshine for $M_{24}$ and K3?

An important piece of Monstrous moonshine is the j-function,
$$j(\tau) = \frac{1}{q}+744+196884q+21493760q^2+\dots\tag{1}$$
In the paper "Umbral Moonshine" (2013), page 5, authors Cheng, Duncan, and ...

**19**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Generating a finite group from elements in each conjugacy class

Is there a finite group such that, if you pick one element from each conjugacy class, these don't necessarily generate the entire group?

**19**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Non-split extensions of $GL_n(F_q)$ by $F_q^n$ ?

A very naive question :
I just learned that there is a non-split extension of $GL_3(F_2)$ by $F_2^3$ (with standard action). It can be realized as the subgroup of the automorphism group $G_2$ of ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Can nonabelian groups be detected “locally”?

Suppose $m,n\geq 2$ are two integers. Is it true that for every sufficiently large nonabelian group $G$, one can find a set $A\subset G$, with $|A|=n$, so that $|A^m| >\binom{n+m-1}{m}$?
(Edit) ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Groups of order $n$ with a character whose degree is at least $0.8\sqrt{n}$ (say)

[edited in response to some corrections by Geoff Robinson and F. Ladisch]
Throughout, all my groups are finite, and all my representations are over the complex numbers.
If $G$ is a group and $\chi$ ...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

998 views

### Examples of finite groups with “good” bijection(s) between conjugacy classes and irreducible representations?

For symmetric group conjugacy classes and irreducible representation both are parametrized by Young diagramms, so there is a kind of "good" bijection between the two sets. For general finite groups ...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

667 views

### Generating random finite groups

I would like a method to efficiently generate a random finite group of a given order $n$.
If there are $g(n)$ non-isomorphic groups of order $n$,
ideally each group would occur with probability ...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

720 views

### Geodesics in finite groups

It seems that I can generalize a result from compact, connected Lie groups to finite groups, but in order to do so, I need to have some kind of geodesics on finite groups.
Below is a proposition for ...

**19**

votes

**0**answers

625 views

### Is there a Mathieu groupoid M_31?

I have read something which said that the large amount of common structure between the simple groups $SL(3,3)$ and $M_{11}$ indicated to Conway the possibility that the Mathieu groupoid $M_{13}$ might ...

**19**

votes

**0**answers

451 views

### Density of first-order definable sets in a directed union of finite groups

This is a generalization of the following question by John Wiltshire-Gordon.
Consider an inductive family of finite groups:
$$
G_0 \hookrightarrow G_1 \hookrightarrow \ldots \hookrightarrow G_i ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Is a group uniquely determined by the sets $\{ab,ba\}$ for each pair of elements a and b?

This is a cross-posted question, originally active here on math.stackexchange.
For a given group $G=(S,\cdot)$ with underlying set $S$, consider the function
$$
F_G:S\times ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Highly transitive groups (without assuming the classification of finite simple groups)

What is known about the classification of n-transitive group actions for n large without using the classification of finite simple groups? With the classification of finite simple groups a complete ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

716 views

### Reference for the triple covering of A_6

I would like to ask for a reference (book, paper ...) for the following nice construction, which I have found as an exercise in some notes of a course by R. Borcherds. For $n=6$ or $7$ (and only in ...

**18**

votes

**0**answers

764 views

### Given a lattice L with n elements, are there finite groups H < G such that L $\cong$ the lattice of subgroups between H and G?

If there is no restriction on $n$, this is a famous open problem. I'm wondering if any recent work has been done for small $n>6$. I believe the question is answered (positively) for $n=6$ by ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

631 views

### “Squeezing” a finite group between symmetric groups

For a finite group $G$, take $m$ as the largest integer such that $G$ has a subgroup $H\cong S_m$ and $n$ as the smallest integer such that $G$ is itself isomorphic to a subgroup of $S_n$. We then ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

581 views

### divisors of $p^4+1$ of the form $kp+1$

In group theory the number of Sylow $p$-subgroups of a finite group $G$, is of the form $kp+1$.
So it is interesting to discuss about the divisors of this form. As I checked it seems that for an odd ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

584 views

### Is there a big solvable subgroup in every finite group?

Definition: Let $G$ be a group, and let $H \leq G$ be a subgroup. We say that $H$ is big in $G$ if for every intermediate subgroup $H \leq L \leq G$ there exists some $x \in L$ such that $\langle H ...

**16**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Has any attempt been made to classify finite groupoids?

I recently stumbled upon the Mathieu groupoid and I found them fascinating.
It appears as a subset of $S_{13}$ which is not closed under multiplication, but it turns out to be a groupoid with 13 ...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Which groups have only real and quaternionic irreducible representations?

Consider a continuous irreducible representation of a compact Lie group on a finite-dimensional complex Hilbert space. There are three mutually exclusive options:
1) it's not isomorphic to its dual ...

**16**

votes

**4**answers

711 views

### What algebraic structures are related to the McGee graph?

Recall that an $(n,g)$-graph is a simple graph where each node has $n$ neighbors and the shortest cycle has length $g$, while an $(n,g)$-cage is $(n,g)$-graph with the minimum number of nodes.
The ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

873 views

### In what sense is the classification of all finite groups “impossible”?

I think there is a general belief that the classification of all finite groups is "impossible". I would like to know if this claim can be made more precise in any way. For instance, if there is a ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

806 views

### Number of 2-dimensional irreducible representations of a finite group ?

Question: What is the number of two-dimensional irreducible representations of a finite group ? How it can be expressed in groups-theoretic terms ? (Number of 1-dimensional irreps is |G/[G,G]| ).
...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

513 views

### Ratio of number of subgroups to the order of a finite group

Let $\mathcal{G}$ be the set of finite groups and for $G \in \mathcal{G}$, let $S(G)$ be the set of subgroups of $G$. I am interested in the ratio $R(G)=|S(G)|/|G|$. It is easy to show that by picking ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

390 views

### Okounkov-Vershik approach to representation theory of $S_n$

This is a rather soft question. I was wondering if someone could explain on a fundamental and intuitive level, what the Okounkov-Vershik approach to representation theory of $S_n$ is all about. It's ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

671 views

### Are There Always Group Generators Which Give Unimodal Growth?

Suppose $G$ is a $k$-generated finite group. Is there always a set of $k$ elements which generate the group and have a unimodal counting function?
Background:
The counting function, $f(n)$, is a ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

381 views

### Applications of the surjectivity of Brauer's decomposition map over arbitrary fields?

Recently I've been going over some of Serre's reformulation of Brauer theory with a student, following the influential treatment in Part III of Serre's lectures (revised 1971 French edition) later ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Classification of finite groups of isometries

Consider the problem of classifying the finite groups of isometries of R^n.
--For n=2 it is cyclic and dihedral groups.
--For n=3 they are well known, probably from Kepler and are related to ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### (co)homology of symmetric groups

Let $S_n=\{\text{bijections }[n]\to[n]\}$ be the n-th symmetric group. Its (co)homology will be understood with trivial action. What are the $\mathbb{Z}$-modules $H_k(S_n;\mathbb{Z})$? Using GAP, we ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

504 views

### Finite groups $G$ so that $G$ has exactly two subgroups of a given order

Is there a finite group $G$ and a divisor $d$ of $|G|$ so that $G$ contains exactly two subgroups of order $d$?
The motivation for this question is an old qual problem (see ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

410 views

### Minimal maximal subgroup of the symmetric group

The question is pretty much in the title: What is the maximal subgroup of $S_d$ of maximal index (so minimal size)? A slight variant (I am not sure if it leads to a different answer) is: what if we ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

411 views

### Number of solutions to equations in finite groups

Suppose $G$ is a finite group and that $E$ is an equation of the form $x_1 x_2 ... x_n = e$, where each $x_i$ is in the set of symbols $\{x, y, x^{-1}, y^{-1}\}$.
Is it always true that the number ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

879 views

### Non-isomorphic finite simple groups

Hello,
The smallest integer $n$ such that there exists two non-isomorphic simple groups of order $n$, is $n=20160$ (namely for the groups $\mathrm{PSL}_3(\mathbb F _4)$ and $\mathrm{PSL}_4(\mathbb F ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Injective proof about sizes of conjugacy classes in S_n

It's not hard to count the number of permutations in a given conjugacy class of Sn. In particular, the number of permutations in Sn whose cycle decomposition has ci i-cycles is n!/(Πi=1n ci!ici). ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

606 views

### Lower bounds on the number of elements in Sylow subgroups

I posted this question on Math.SE (link), but it didn't get any answers so I'm going to ask here. This is an edited version of the question.
Let $p$ be a prime and $n \geq 1$ some integer. ...

**15**

votes

**0**answers

311 views

### Maximum automorphism group for a 3-connected cubic graph

The following arose as a side issue in a project on graph reconstruction.
Problem: Let $a(n)$ be the greatest order of the automorphism group of a 3-connected cubic graph with $n$ vertices. Find a ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

879 views

### Use of n-transitivity in finite group theory

Hello, apparently finite groups which are n-transitive with n>5 are only the permutation groups Sn or the alternating groups An+2, see e.g. page 226 this book by Isaacs ...