The sum of the degrees of the irreducible complex characters (not the square sum which is the group order) is relevant to determine the dimension of a maximal torus of the Lie algebra associated to the group algebra of a finite group over the complex field.
I have investigated certain group classes as extra-special groups, abelian groups, direct products, quaternion groups, (semi-)dihedral groups, A4, SL(2,q), GL(2,q), meta-cyclic groups, meta-abelian-groups, central products, frobenius groups and determine this sum. Also symmetric groups are now known counting involutions (a case of groups for which all irre. characters are real valued). Nilpotent groups are reduced to p-groups using direct products.
My question is whether there is a nice sum-formula (maybe with recursion) for groups like: alternating groups, p-groups (maybe special classes), simple groups, general linear, special linear groups, groups with united factor group, groups with normal p-Sylow-subgroup and abelian Hall-Complement, soluble groups, M-groups, ... as well. `
Maybe there is an argument or idea how to determine this sum for all groups by reduction on certain classes of groups.
In the literature there is a nice inequality saying that this sum is at least the double of the linear characters for a non-soluble groups (using the classification atlas of simple groups). Maybe there are some more upper and lower bounds to derive here.