# Is a group a direct product? [closed]

Given a group G

1. How can one tell if it could have been formed as the direct product of sub groups.
2. If so what are the groups.
• How are you given this group? The question is much too vague, voting to close. Jun 21 '11 at 4:02
• In general, there will be a system of congruences of any algebraic structure which correspond to a direct product representation if there is a nontrivial one. In general, factorization of algebraic structures is non-unique and not easily determined; groups are a tad easier, but one must scrutinize the congruence (normal subgroup) lattice. McKenzie, McNulty and Taylor cover quite a bit of ground in this area in Chapter 5 of their book "Algebras, Lattices, Varieties". Gerhard "Email Me About System Design" Paseman, 2011.06.20 Jun 21 '11 at 4:36

Here is a simple' procedure.
1. Enumerate all non-trivial normal subgroups, $N$, of $G$.
2. Check if the extension $N \stackrel{f}{\to} G \stackrel{h}{\to} G/N$ is split; ie there exists some homomorphism $s : G/N \to G$ such that $s h = id_{G/N}$.
3. Finally, show that the image of $s$ is a normal subgroup of $G$.
The hard part of this whole process is step 2, which basically requires you to figure out some way of picking a representative element out of each of the cosets of $G/N$. If the extension is indeed split, there is really only one way to do this (ie map each element $x \in G/N$ to the pair' $(x, e)$ where $e$ is the identity of $N$); and if it is not split then it is impossible.