Algorithms for group isomorphism via group extensions and cohomology

Publication Type:
Journal Article
SIAM Journal on Computing, 2017, 46 (4), pp. 1153 - 1216
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© 2017 SIAM. The isomorphism problem for finite groups of order n (GpI) has long been known to be solvable in nlog n+O(1) time, but only recently were polynomial-time algorithms designed for several interesting group classes. Inspired by recent progress, we revisit the strategy for GpI via the extension theory of groups. The extension theory describes how a normal subgroup N is related to G/N via G, and this naturally leads to a divide-and-conquer strategy that "splits" GpI into two subproblems: one regarding group actions on other groups, and one regarding group cohomology. When the normal subgroup N is abelian, this strategy is well known. Our first contribution is to extend this strategy to handle the case when N is not necessarily abelian. This allows us to provide a unified explanation of all recent polynomial-time algorithms for special group classes. Guided by this strategy, to make further progress on GpI, we consider central-radical groups, proposed in Babai et al. [Code equivalence and group isomorphism, in Proceedings of the 22nd Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA'11), SIAM, Philadelphia, 2011, ACM, New York, pp. 1395-1408]: the class of groups such that G modulo its center has no abelian normal subgroups. This class is a natural extension of the group class considered by Babai et al. [Polynomial-time isomorphism test for groups with no abelian normal subgroups (extended abstract), in International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP), 2012, pp. 51-62], namely those groups with no abelian normal subgroups. Following the above strategy, we solve GpI in nO(log log n) time for central-radical groups, and in polynomial time for several prominent subclasses of centralradical groups. We also solve GpI in nO(log log n) time for groups whose solvable normal subgroups are elementary abelian but not necessarily central. As far as we are aware, this is the first time there have been worst-case guarantees on an no(log n)-time algorithm that tackles both aspects of GpI-actions and cohomology-simultaneously. Prior to this work, the best proven upper bounds on algorithms for groups with central radicals were nO(log n), even for groups with a central radical of constant size, such as Rad(G) = Z(G) = ℤ2. To develop our new algorithms we utilize several mathematical results on the detailed structure of cohomology classes, as well as algorithmic results for code equivalence, coset intersection, and cyclicity testing of modules over finite-dimensional associative algebras. We also suggest several promising directions for future work.
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