Code equivalence and group isomorphism

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, 2011, pp. 1395 - 1408
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The isomorphism problem for groups given by their multiplication tables has long been known to be solvable in time nlogn+O(1) decades-old quest for a polynomial-time algorithm has focused on the very difficult case of class-2 nilpotent groups (groups whose quotient by their center is abelian), with little success. In this paper we consider the opposite end of the spectrum and initiate a more hopeful program to find a polynomial-time algorithm for semisimple groups, defined as groups without abelian normal subgroups. First we prove that the isomorphism problem for this class can be solved in time n O(log log n). We then identify certain bottlenecks to polynomial-time solvability and give a polynomial-time solution to a rich subclass, namely the semisimple groups where each minimal normal subgroup has a bounded number of simple factors. We relate the results to the filtration of groups introduced by Babai and Beals (1999). One of our tools is an algorithm for equivalence of (not necessarily linear) codes in simply-exponential time in the length of the code, obtained by modifying Luks's algorithm for hypergraph isomorphism in simply-exponential time in the number of vertices (FOCS 1999). We comment on the complexity of the closely related problem of per mutational isomorphism of permutation groups.
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