Large scale properties of groups; growth functions; Dehn functions; small cancellation properties; hyperbolicity and CAT(0); actions and representations; combinatorial group theory; presentations

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32
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1answer
2k views

orders of products of permutations

Let $p$ be a prime, $n\gg p$ not divisible by $p$ (say, $n>2^{2^p}$). Are there two permutations $a, b$ of the set $\{1,...,n\}$ which together act transitively on $\{1,2,...,n\}$ and such that all ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a simple proof that a group of linear growth is quasi-isometric to Z?

I proposed to a master's student to work, from the exercise in Ghys-de la Harpe's book, on the proof that a finitely generated group $G$ that is quasi-isometric to $\mathbb{Z}$ is virtually ...
26
votes
9answers
6k views

Introductory text on geometric group theory?

Can someone indicate me a good introductory text on geometric group theory?
24
votes
4answers
2k views

Trees in groups of exponential growth

Question: Let $G$ be a finitely generated group with exponential growth. Is there a finite generating set $S \subset G$, such that the associated Cayley graph $Cay(G,S)$ contains a binary tree? ...
24
votes
1answer
1k views

Invertible matrices satisfying $[x,y,y]=x$.

I have been thinking about this question for quite some time but now this question by Denis Serre revived some hope. Question. Let $x,y$ be invertible matrices (say, over $\mathbb C$) and ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

Residual finiteness: why do we care?

Residually finite groups have been studied for a long time. However, I am struggling to work out why we care, or perhaps, why they continue to be of interest. Let me explain. Magnus, in his 1968 ...
20
votes
2answers
919 views

Asymptotics of the growth rate of a group

Let $\Gamma$ be a finitely generated group of exponential growth and $gr(S)=\lim_{k\rightarrow \infty} \sqrt[k]{|B_k(S)|}$ be the growth rate of $\Gamma$ with respect to the generating set $S$. I am ...
19
votes
3answers
855 views

Is there a non-Hopfian lacunary hyperbolic group?

The question's in the title and is easily stated, but let me try to give some details and explain why I'm interested. First, a disclaimer: if the answer's not already somewhere in the literature then ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

An example of a non-amenable exact group without free subgroups.

A countable discrete group $\Gamma$ is said to be exact if it admits an amenable action on some compact space. So clearly amenable groups are exact, but large familes of non-amenable groups are as ...
19
votes
1answer
485 views

Group with finite outer automorphism group and large center

Does there exist a finitely generated group $G$ with outer automorphism group $\mathrm{Out}(G)$ finite, whose center contains infinitely many elements of order $p$ for some prime $p$? A motivation is ...
18
votes
0answers
546 views

Reference request: Parallel processor theorem of William Thurston

Sometime in the 1980's or 1990's, Bill Thurston proved a theorem regarding the existence of a universal parallel processing machine, using a certain class for such machines having finite deterministic ...
17
votes
4answers
852 views

When is a extension of $\mathbb{Z}$ by a free group a CAT(0) group?

The question has an easy answer, if one replaces free by free abelian: Then the resulting group is always solvable and a solvable subgroup of a CAT(0) group is virtually abelian. If the resulting was ...
17
votes
4answers
909 views

Free splittings of one-relator groups

Roughly speaking, I want to know whether one-relator groups only have 'obvious' free splittings. Consider a one-relator group $G=F/\langle\langle r\rangle\rangle$, where $F$ is a free group. Is ...
17
votes
1answer
471 views

Is the property of not containing $\mathbb{F}_2$ invariant under quasi-isometry?

Is the property of not containing the free group on two generators invariant under quasi-isometry? Amenability is, so if there is a counterexample it is also a solution to the von Neumann-Day ...
16
votes
9answers
4k views

The free group $F_2$ has index 12 in SL(2,$\mathbb{Z}$)

Is there someone who can give me some hints/references to the proof of this fact?
16
votes
1answer
750 views

Amenable groups of deficiency $1$

Let $G=\langle X;R\rangle$ be a finitely presented group. The rank of $G$ is defined to be the size of smallest generating set of $G$. The deficiency ${\rm def}(G)$ of $G$ is defined to be the maximum ...
16
votes
1answer
379 views

Asymmetric metrics and cohomology

If $(X,d)$ is a metric space and $f : X \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ is a Lipschitz function with Lipschitz constant $k < 1$, then the function $$ D(x,y) := d(x,y) + f(y) - f(x) $$ defines an asymmetric ...
16
votes
0answers
518 views

How boundedly generated is $SL_3(\mathbb{Z})$?

The group $G = \mathrm{SL}_3(\mathbb{Z})$ is known to be boundedly generated, that is, there exists some $m \in \mathbb{N}$, and $g_1, \dots, g_m \in G$ such that we have the following equality of ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

The second homotopy group of a simple CW-complex

Let $X$ be a CW-complex with one 0-cell two 1-cells three 2-cells no cells in dimensions 3 or higher. Is it always true that $\pi_2(X)\ne 1$?
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Braid groups acting on CAT(0)-complexes

Does the braid group $B_n, n\ge 3$, act properly by isometries on a CAT(0) cube complex? Update 1. During a recent talk of Nigel Higson in Pennstate Dmitri Burago asked whether the braid groups are ...
14
votes
2answers
658 views

Normal subgroups of finite index in free groups

Hi all, This is a question about the groups $H_{n,s}$ introduced by Völklein in his book "Groups as Galois groups", §7.1, and defined as follows: let $N$ be the intersection of all normal subgroups ...
14
votes
3answers
594 views

Failure of Mostow rigidity in dim. 2

I am trying to understand why Mostow rigidity fails in dimension 2. More concretely, I have the following question: (1) What is an example of a quasiisometry $f$ of the hyperbolic plane $\mathbb H^2$ ...
14
votes
1answer
592 views

Loop spaces and infinite braids

The Artin braid groups $B_n$ and the symmetric groups $S_n$ are closely related by the maps $1 \to P_n \to B_n \to S_n \to 1$. The infinite symmetric group has interesting interactions with homotopy ...
14
votes
2answers
514 views

The kernel of the map from the handlebody group to Outer automorphisms of a free group

Let $K$ be a compact oriented 3-dimensional handlebody of genus $g$. The group $H_g$ of isotopy classes of diffeomorphisms of $K$ is called the handlebody group. (It embeds as a subgroup of the ...
13
votes
2answers
453 views

Minimal number of generators for $GL(n,\mathbb{Z})$

$\DeclareMathOperator{\gl}{GL}\DeclareMathOperator{\sl}{SL}$From de la Harpe's book "Topics in Geometric Group Theory" I learnt that $\gl(n,\mathbb{Z})$ is generated by the matrices $$s_1 = ...
13
votes
1answer
416 views

Mapping class group and CAT(0) spaces

I hope the questions are not too vague. Is the mapping class group of an orientable punctured surface $CAT(0)$ ? Is any of the remarkable simplicial complexes (curve complex, arc complex...) built ...
13
votes
0answers
307 views

Linear groups which don't contain products of free groups

Let $G \subset GL(n, \Bbb Z)$ be a f.g. linear group. The Tits alternative says that $G$ is either virtually solvable (i.e. has a solvable subgroup of finite index), or contains a free group $F_2$. ...
13
votes
0answers
234 views

Bounding the lengths of the conjugators in the word problem for finite group presentations

Let $G = \langle X \mid R \rangle$ be a group defined by a finite presentation, and let $F$ be the free group on $X$. If $w \in F$ represents the identity in $G$, then $w$ is equal in $F$ to (the free ...
12
votes
1answer
320 views

Is the Thompson group F locally indicable?

A group $G$ is called locally indicable if for any finitely generated subgroup $H \subset G$, there is a non-trivial homomorphism from $H$ to the real additive group $(\mathbb{R},+)$. Is the Thompson ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

The fundamental group of a closed surface without classification of surfaces?

The fundamental group of a closed oriented surface of genus $g$ has the well-known presentation $$ \langle x_1,\ldots, x_g,y_1,\ldots ,y_g\vert \prod_{i=1}^{g} [x_i,y_i]\rangle. $$ The proof I know ...
12
votes
2answers
522 views

Does every group grow either polynomially or superpolynomially?

I am reading an introduction to growth of groups. The notions of polynomial and superpolynomial growth are introduced, as are exponential and subexponential growth. I can prove that the growth of a ...
12
votes
3answers
809 views

How can I tell if a group is linear?

The basic question is in the title, but I am interested in both necessary and sufficient conditions. I know the Tits' alternative and Malcev's result that finitely generated linear groups are ...
12
votes
1answer
562 views

Distortion of malnormal subgroup of hyperbolic groups

Let $G$ be a countable, Gromov-hyperbolic group. We say that $H$ is hyperbolically embedded in $G$ if $G$ is relatively hyperbolic to {$H$} (in the strong sense). This definition is due to Osin. A ...
12
votes
1answer
238 views

Hyperbolic 3-manifold groups acting on the plane

Can the fundamental group of a closed hyperbolic 3-manifold act freely on the plane by homeomorphisms? Freely and cocompactly? Freely, cocompactly, and preserving orientation?
12
votes
0answers
318 views

What is an example of a word hyperbolic group without a finite complete rewriting system?

I believe that it was an open question back when I was a graduate student whether every word hyperbolic group admits a finite complete (=Church-Rosser=Noetherian+confluent) rewriting system for some ...
12
votes
0answers
345 views

Splay trees and Thompson's group $F$

( I apologize for only indicating some easy to find references, but new users are not allowed to link more than five). This is very speculative, but: Question: Is there a reformulation of the Dynamic ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Understanding groups that are not linear.

I have a really hard time "feeling" what it means for a group to fail to be linear. Vaguely, I'd like to know how one should think about such groups. More precisely: What are some interesting ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

The role of the Automatic Groups in the history of Geometric Group Theory

What is the role of the theory of Automatic Groups in the history of Geometric Group Theory? Motivation: When I read through the "Word Processing in Groups" I was amazed by the supreme beauty and ...
11
votes
2answers
414 views

Algorithms in hyperbolic groups

I'm stuck in some algorithms in hyperbolic groups, which may be rather simple. Let $G$ be a hyperbolic group given by a finite presentation. It is known that the hyperbolicity constant $\delta$ can ...
11
votes
1answer
699 views

Dehn's algorithm for word problem for surface groups

For some $g \geq 2$, let $\Gamma_g$ be the fundamental group of a closed genus $g$ surface and let $S_g=\{a_1,b_1,\ldots,a_g,b_g\}$ be the usual generating set for $\Gamma_g$ satisfying the surface ...
11
votes
1answer
345 views

What are smallest finite images of triangle groups?

Given integers $a, b, c$ all at least 2, I would like to identify the smallest group with an element $x$ of order $a$, element $y$ of order $b$ such that the product $yx$ has order $c$. For example, ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Examples of “Monster” groups

I am planning a talk for a general graduate student audience. The topic is exotic examples of countable discrete groups ("monsters"). Some examples of properties that I'm interested in are: 1.) ...
11
votes
3answers
717 views

Your favorite papers on geometric group theory

I would like to improve my culture on geometric group theory, so I am interested in short and accessible papers on subjects related to this field but which are not always available in the classical ...
11
votes
1answer
270 views

Embeddings of finitely generated groups into uniformly convex Banach spaces

de Cornulier, Tessera, and Valette (Geom. Funct. Anal. 17 (2007), 770-792) conjectured that a finitely generated group $G$ with its word metric admits a bilipschitz embedding into a Hilbert space if ...
11
votes
1answer
910 views

Topological HNN extensions

First, let me recall what an abstract HNN extension is. Let $G$ be an abstract group, $A, B < G$ be subgroups of $G$ and $\phi : A \to B$ be an isomorphisms. Then there is a group $H$ and an ...
11
votes
1answer
361 views

Is there a faithful transitive locally finite action of the modular group?

Is there a faithful transitive action of $G = \mathrm{PSL}_2(\mathbb{Z})$ on $\mathbb{Z}$ such that orbits under each $g \in G$ are finite?
10
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the most general classes of simplicial complexes or posets for which the Charney-Davis conjecture is known, and what is the most general setting for which it might expected to be true?

What I would like to know is exactly what the title asks: What are the most general classes of simplicial complexes or posets for which the Charney-Davis conjecture is known, and what is the ...
10
votes
2answers
292 views

Conjugacy of matrices of order three in $PGL(2,k)$, where $k$ is any field

We know that every matrix of order three in $PGL(2,\mathbb Z)$ is conjugate to the following matrix $$ \left( \begin{array}[cc] &1 & -1 \\ 1&0 \end{array} \right) $$ I want to know if ...
10
votes
1answer
262 views

Growth of Poincaré duality groups

Can one prove that Poincaré duality groups cannot have intermediate growth?
10
votes
2answers
406 views

Invariant free factor of a free group

Let $F_n=F\ast F'$ be a free splitting of the free group $F_n$ and $\phi\in Aut(F_n)$. The free factor $F$ is said to be invariant under $\phi$ if $\phi(F)\subseteq F$. I recently wondered if this ...