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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31
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 ...
28
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
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 ...
23
votes
9answers
4k views

Introductory text on geometric group theory?

Can someone indicate me a good introductory text on geometric group theory?
23
votes
4answers
1k 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? ...
20
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 ...
20
votes
2answers
820 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
742 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
756 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
438 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
4answers
766 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
711 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 ...
15
votes
9answers
3k 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?
15
votes
3answers
957 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
1answer
532 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 ...
13
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
493 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
449 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
288 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
3answers
756 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
374 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
0answers
187 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
0answers
282 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
695 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
257 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
2answers
513 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
481 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
795 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
0answers
299 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
910 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
875 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
1answer
245 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
205 views

Growth of Poincare duality groups

Can one prove that Poincare duality groups cannot have intermediate growth?
10
votes
2answers
351 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
434 views

Centralizers of non-iwip elements of $Out(F_n)$

Does there exist an infinite order element $\phi\in Out(F_n)$, for some or all $n\geq 3$, which is not iwip but has finite index in its centralizer? How about an element such that all its non-zero ...
10
votes
1answer
363 views

Kazhdan's property T for Kahler surfaces

Is it true that the fundamental groups of compact Kahler surfaces have property T if and only if it they are finite? I am having trouble finding counterexamples to this, but maybe that's just me...
10
votes
3answers
1k 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.) ...
10
votes
1answer
430 views

Partial word orders on groups

This is a followup question related to this question. Recall that a left-invariant partial order on a finitely generated group $G$ is called a partial word order if for every $a\le b\le c$ we have ...
10
votes
1answer
252 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 ...
10
votes
0answers
501 views

Definition of a uniformly bounded dual of a group

The unitary dual of a group $G$ is the set of equivalence classes of irreducible unitary representations of $G$ with the Fell topology. (This topology is defined using convergence of positive definite ...
9
votes
3answers
431 views

Finite subgroups of relatively hyperbolic groups

It is well known that in a given $\delta$-hyperbolic group there are only finitely many conjugacy classes of finite subgroups. This is clearly false for relatively hyperbolic groups since we have no ...
9
votes
1answer
384 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
301 views

Decidability of conjugacy problem for finitely generated subgroups of free groups

The conjugacy problem for a free group $F_n$ on $n$ letters has an easy solution. Each element of $F_n$ is conjugate to a unique and easily computable "cyclically reduced element" (this means that if ...
9
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
189 views

Group with unsolvable conjugacy problem but solvable conjugacy length?

Could there exist a finitely presented group with unsolvable conjugacy problem, in which it is decidable whether a word over the group generators is a shortest representative of an element in its ...
8
votes
2answers
336 views

Converse to Milnor's theorem on manifolds with nonnegative Ricci curvature.

Disclaimer : I suspect the question I am about to ask is really hard, but I just want to know the status of such questions. Thanks to Milnor, we know that the $\pi_1$ any compact manifold with ...
8
votes
1answer
331 views

How to construct a group with specified growth function

Are there any procedures which given a nonnegative nondecreasing function on the integers will construct a finitely generated group with the same growth up to the usual equivalence of growth ...
8
votes
2answers
393 views

Which groups have nice compactifications ?

Given a discrete group G. Is there a nice criterion to decide, whether there is a compact Hausdorff $G$- space X, that contains the discrete space $G$ as a subspace, such that the stabilizer of every ...
8
votes
1answer
436 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
147 views

Counterexamples to analogue of Cannon conjecture in higher dimensions

It is known that a group $G$ acts geometrically on $\mathbb{H}^2$ if and only if $G$ is word-hyperbolic and its boundary $\partial G$ is homeomorphic to $S^1$. The analogous statement for ...