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GSoC 2017 Report Valeriia Gladkova: Group Theory
This page summarises the work I've done during my 2017 GSoC project with links to PRs in approximately the order they were submitted. See my blog for weekly posts following my progress. The contents of this page are almost identical to this post.
My name is Valeriia Gladkova (valglad on github) and I am a third year (starting in October 2017) mathematics undergraduate at Oxford University, UK.
My project focused mainly on implementing group homomorphisms and this included implementation of rewriting systems for finitely presented groups and finite presentations of permutation groups. Additionally, I worked on finitely presented groups'
order() method, improved simplification of subgroup presentations and implemented Sylow subgroups of permutation groups. See my proposal for further information.
I'd say that I have done all that was planned plus some minor additional things here and there (discovering and fixing bugs, modifying existing functions and occasionally adding new ones beyond what was planned). However, there is certainly room for improvement, and I will mention where the work could continue as I go through the PRs.
Pull Requests and Comments
subgroupmethod PR. Here I added
subgroup()methods to the
FpGroupclasses. There were some discussions as I wondered if
FreeGroupclass could be implemented differently, but it was mostly straightforward. Perhaps, it would be useful to add a keyword argument or something like that to
subgroup()to allow the user to get hold of the injective homomorphism from the subgroup to the parent group.
Improvements to simplifying subgroup presentations. I didn't look at
_elimination_technique_2because it is not used anywhere in the code at the moment but it could probably be improved as well, especially now that some new
FreeGroupElementmethods are available: one of them is the general substitution of words that I implemented in this PR and, as I recall, I modified a few other
FreeGroupElementmethods there, as I discovered that some of them were buggy or not general enough. In a later PR (#9), I united the main elimination technique (which removes redundant generators) and the simplification of relators into one function
simplify_presentationthat can be applied to any group, not just as part of
reidemeister_presentation(used for finding presentations of subgroups).
The Smith Normal form PR. This is the only time I did work somewhere other than the
combinatoricsmodule during the project. I implemented the Smith Normal form for principal ideal domains because it could be used to test if a group is infinite (not a definitive test, as if the test is negative, we can't conclude the group isn't infinite). It's a bit awkward to use at the moment because the user has to add manually a certain attribute to their matrix and it won't be resolved until some further work is done on matrices. I wrote a bit more about it in the relevant post.
Changing the order method. The previous PR allowed returning
S.Infinityas the order of the group in some cases where in the past the
order()method wouldn't terminate. This PR extended it even further by calculating the order in stages. First, it attempts to find a finite index subgroup and, if it succeeds, it finds the presentation of this subgroup and applies
order()to it. In some cases, other methods can determine that this subgroup is infinite in which case, of course, the whole group is infinite. If it's finite, then the order of the group is the index times the order of the subgroup. It is still possible that this never terminates if a finite index subgroup is not found, but it's an improvement. It can be faster than direct coset enumeration on the trivial subgroup (that was used before) but occasionally it seems too slow for even smallish groups. Usually, the slowest part is finding the subgroup's presentation but sometimes it's the search for this subgroup that takes up the time. I feel that more work should be done here to make it more efficient.
The homomorphism PR. This was a substantial PR: not only did it introduce two new classes (
FpSubgroup), it also involved quite a lot of work in the
PermutationGroupclass in order to implement the method that expresses a given permutation in terms of the group's strong generators. At this stage only homomorphisms from
PermutationGroupwere fully implemented. The kernel computation can't handle infinite domains - maybe, this could be addressed in the future.
The Rewriting System PR. This was probably the hardest thing in the project and it probably took the longest to get merged after its review started (or at least it felt the longest). Even after it did, some problems kept coming up. It seems stable at the moment but it could certainly do with more work. One thing that comes to mind is the reduction method: it is possible to do it more efficiently with an automaton which is built and modified as more reduction rules are added to the system. Also, perhaps, the completion algorithm could be made more efficient in some way.
Fixing a bug in
reidemester_presentation. Discovered by accident, there was a small bug in
reidemeister_presentationthat led to
order()returning wrong answers in some specific cases.
__contains__method. After the homomorphism PR was merged, it was discovered that occasionally the tests involving kernels would time out. This was because FpSubgroup's
__contains__method would go into an infinite loop on encountering elements of the conjugate form
a**-1*w*a. It took some time to work out a way of dealing with it.
Finite presentation of permutation groups. This is something I keep working on. The general algorithm is implemented and merged, however, the efficiency could potentially be improved by using a different method based on the group's strong generating set. I have tried one implementation but it's not clear when exactly it is more efficient. Currently, I am trying to implement a different, hopefully more consistently efficient, algorithm.
Update (11/02/2018): Here is a merged pull request that introduces the function
strong_presentation(G) and uses Sims Verify algorithm - this is more efficient for strong presentations than
Fixing a bug in
minimal_block. A small bug in
minimal_blockwas discovered during the implementation of sylow subgroups.
Adding the other homomorphism cases. This PR enabled homomorphisms with
FpGroupas codomain (became possible after merging the rewriting PR) and
PermutationGroupas domain (provided the keyword argument
checkwas set to
Sylow subgroups PR. This one also took a while. The main function is fairly long and it required implementation of two types of action homomorphisms and a method for finding all minimal block systems of a group. A later related PR made sure symmetric and alternating groups were treated separately as the generators of their Sylow subgroups can be written down in a systematic way.
PermutationGroup methods for FpGroup. This is something that gave me the idea for the project in the first place: many methods for permutation groups are already available while finitely presented groups have limited functionality. However, it's possible to use an isomorphism between a finite FpGroup and a relevant permutation group to perform computations in the latter and then go back to the former. This is precisely what this PR does for many permutation group methods.
Storing coset tables in
_finite_index_subgroup. Until the presentation PR, it wasn't possible to get hold of an incomplete coset table for which coset enumeration returned with an error (for example if the maximum number of entries was exceeded). After it was merged, I made use of this new feature in the search for a finite index subgroup (used by
order()method). This somewhat decreased the required time as coset tables didn't have to be recomputed.
Checking that a homomorphism from PermutationGroup is well defined. After the presentation PR was merged, it became possible to complete the homomorphism class by enabling the check for whether given generator images define a homomorphism when the domain is a permutation group.
Sylow subgroups for Sym(n) and Alt(n). A separate method for computing Sylow subgroups of alternating and symmetric groups, to be used as part of the main
sylow_subgroupmethod. This hugely improves the performance in the case of alternating and symmetric groups.
A couple other PRs had to do with renaming attributes (this one and this one) or moving code around (for example, moving all of the coset table and coset enumeration functions to the file
coset_table.py in this PR). These didn't include any actual work so I didn't include them in the main list.
Hopefully, this report will be of use to whoever else might be interested in developing the group theory module. I plan to continue working on it myself for some time, though probably less productively as the new academic year starts soon.
Overall, this was a fun summer and I enjoyed working on this project. I'd like to thank Google for sponsoring it, SymPy for giving me the opportunity to participate and my mentor Kalevi (jksuom) for giving me guidance and useful suggestions on my code and generally being very helpful. :)