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Title: Encoding and detecting properties in finitely presented groups
Author: Gardam, Giles
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 1572
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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In this thesis we study several properties of finitely presented groups, through the unifying paradigm of encoding sought-after group properties into presentations and detecting group properties from presentations, in the context of Geometric Group Theory. A group law is said to be detectable in power subgroups if, for all coprime m and n, a group G satisfies the law if and only if the power subgroups G(m) and G(n) both satisfy the law. We prove that for all positive integers c, nilpotency of class at most c is detectable in power subgroups, as is the k-Engel law for k at most 4. In contrast, detectability in power subgroups fails for solvability of given derived length: we construct a finite group W such that W(2) and W(3) are metabelian but W has derived length 3. We analyse the complexity of the detectability of commutativity in power subgroups, in terms of finite presentations that encode a proof of the result. We construct a census of two-generator one-relator groups of relator length at most 9, with complete determination of isomorphism type, and verify a conjecture regarding conditions under which such groups are automatic. Furthermore, we introduce a family of one-relator groups and classify which of them act properly cocompactly on complete CAT(0) spaces; the non-CAT(0) examples are counterexamples to a variation on the aforementioned conjecture. For a subclass, we establish automaticity, which is needed for the census. The deficiency of a group is the maximum over all presentations for that group of the number of generators minus the number of relators. Every finite group has non-positive deficiency. For every prime p we construct finite p-groups of arbitrary negative deficiency, and thereby complete Kotschick's proposed classification of the integers which are deficiencies of Kähler groups. We explore variations and embellishments of our basic construction, which require subtle Schur multiplier computations, and we investigate the conditions on inputs to the construction that are necessary for success. A well-known question asks whether any two non-isometric finite volume hyperbolic 3-manifolds are distinguished from each other by the finite quotients of their fundamental groups. At present, this has been proved only when one of the manifolds is a once-punctured torus bundle over the circle. We give substantial computational evidence in support of a positive answer, by showing that no two manifolds in the SnapPea census of 72 942 finite volume hyperbolic 3-manifolds have the same finite quotients. We determine examples of sizeable graphs, as required to construct finitely presented non-hyperbolic subgroups of hyperbolic groups, which have the fewest vertices possible modulo mild topological assumptions.
Supervisor: Bridson, Martin Sponsor: James Fairfax Oxford Australia Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geometric Group Theory ; power subgroups ; computational group theory ; varieties ; group theory ; one-relator groups ; laws ; deficiency ; non-positive curvature ; finitely presented groups ; geometric group theory ; hyperbolic 3-manifolds ; profinite completions ; CAT(0) spaces