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
votes
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 ...
31
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 $\mathbb{Z}...
27
votes
9answers
6k views

Introductory text on geometric group theory?

Can someone indicate me a good introductory text on geometric group theory?
25
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 $[x,y,...
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
4answers
928 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
950 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
516 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 ...
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 ...
18
votes
4answers
956 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 ...
18
votes
0answers
561 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
873 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
1answer
483 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
762 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
386 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
532 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
685 views

Failure of Mostow rigidity in dimension 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 $\mathbb H^2$ ...
15
votes
2answers
559 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 ...
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 $\pi_2(X)\ne 1$?
15
votes
0answers
267 views

Groups whose finite index subgroups of fixed index are isomorphic

I am interested in finitely generated groups $G$ that are residually finite and have the following property: For each $d \geq 1$, $G$ has subgroups of finite index $d$, and all such subgroups are ...
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
680 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
1answer
268 views

Does the injection $\text{Aut}(F_n) \hookrightarrow \text{Aut}(F_{n+1})$ split?

Let $F_n$ be the free group on $n$ letters. The question is as in the title: letting $i:\text{Aut}(F_n) \hookrightarrow \text{Aut}(F_{n+1})$ be the natural injection, does there exist a homomorphism $...
14
votes
1answer
471 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
603 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
1answer
582 views

Is it true that every f.g. infinite simple group has exponential growth?

Is it true that every finitely generated infinite simple group has exponential (word-)growth? Remark: As Mark Sapir has pointed out, the question whether every finitely generated group of ...
13
votes
2answers
594 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 = \begin{...
13
votes
2answers
821 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 ...
13
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
601 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 ...
13
votes
0answers
315 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
239 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
6answers
2k 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 ...
12
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
464 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
314 views

When are growth series rational?

For a finitely generated group $G$ with generating set $S$, one can define the word metric. Using this, we are able to define the sequence $\sigma(n)$ by $ \sigma(n) = |\mathcal{S}(e,n)| $, which is ...
12
votes
1answer
328 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
529 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
828 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
2answers
263 views

Are finitely generated amenable groups positively finitely generated?

Let $G$ be a finitely generated amenable group. Is there a positive integer $n$ such that $n$ random elements of $G$ generate it with positive probability? Being more formal, note that $G^n$ is ...
12
votes
1answer
132 views

The finiteness criterium $F$ under quasi-isometry

A group $G$ is defined to have $F$ if there exists a finite $K(G,1)$. This property is clearly not invariant under quasi-isometry as one can see from the trivial group and $\mathbb{Z}_2$. My question:...
12
votes
1answer
261 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
325 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
351 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
1answer
498 views

Conjugating a subgroup of a group into a proper subgroup of itself

The following question came up in the class I'm teaching right now. There definitely exist groups $G$ with subgroups $H$ such that there exists some $g \in G$ such that $g H g^{-1}$ is a proper ...
11
votes
1answer
268 views

Growth of Poincaré duality groups

Can one prove that Poincaré duality groups cannot have intermediate growth?
11
votes
1answer
334 views

Isometries of some simple Cayley graphs

Consider a Cayley graph of a group $G$ with respect to a symmetric finite generating set $S$. There are some obvious candidates to isometries of this graph - for example, translation by elements of $G$...
11
votes
1answer
354 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, ...