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group theory In abstract algebra, group theory studies the algebraic structures known as group (mathematics), groups. The concept of a group is central to abstract algebra: other well-known algebraic structures, such as ring (mathematics), rings, field ...
, a branch of
mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in modern mathematics ...
, given a group ''G'' under a binary operation ∗, a
subset In mathematics, Set (mathematics), set ''A'' is a subset of a set ''B'' if all Element (mathematics), elements of ''A'' are also elements of ''B''; ''B'' is then a superset of ''A''. It is possible for ''A'' and ''B'' to be equal; if they are ...
''H'' of ''G'' is called a subgroup of ''G'' if ''H'' also forms a group under the operation ∗. More precisely, ''H'' is a subgroup of ''G'' if the restriction of ∗ to is a group operation on ''H''. This is often denoted , read as "''H'' is a subgroup of ''G''". The trivial subgroup of any group is the subgroup consisting of just the identity element. A proper subgroup of a group ''G'' is a subgroup ''H'' which is a proper subset of ''G'' (that is, ). This is often represented notationally by , read as "''H'' is a proper subgroup of ''G''". Some authors also exclude the trivial group from being proper (that is, ). If ''H'' is a subgroup of ''G'', then ''G'' is sometimes called an overgroup of ''H''. The same definitions apply more generally when ''G'' is an arbitrary semigroup, but this article will only deal with subgroups of groups.


Subgroup tests

Suppose that ''G'' is a group, and ''H'' is a subset of ''G''. For now, assume that the group operation of ''G'' is written multiplicatively, denoted by juxtaposition. *Then ''H'' is a subgroup of ''G''
if and only if In logic and related fields such as mathematics and philosophy, "if and only if" (shortened as "iff") is a biconditional logical connective between statements, where either both statements are true or both are false. The connective is bicondi ...
''H'' is nonempty and closed under products and inverses. ''Closed under products'' means that for every ''a'' and ''b'' in ''H'', the product ''ab'' is in ''H''. ''Closed under inverses'' means that for every ''a'' in ''H'', the inverse ''a''−1 is in ''H''. These two conditions can be combined into one, that for every ''a'' and ''b'' in ''H'', the element ''ab''−1 is in ''H'', but it is more natural and usually just as easy to test the two closure conditions separately. *When ''H'' is ''finite'', the test can be simplified: ''H'' is a subgroup if and only if it is nonempty and closed under products. These conditions alone imply that every element ''a'' of ''H'' generates a finite cyclic subgroup of ''H'', say of order ''n'', and then the inverse of ''a'' is ''a''''n''−1. If the group operation is instead denoted by addition, then ''closed under products'' should be replaced by the condition that for every ''a'' and ''b'' in ''H'', the sum ''a''+''b'' is in ''H'', and ''closed under inverses'' should be replaced by the condition that for every ''a'' in ''H'', the inverse −''a'' is in ''H''.


Basic properties of subgroups

*The identity of a subgroup is the identity of the group: if ''G'' is a group with identity ''e''''G'', and ''H'' is a subgroup of ''G'' with identity ''e''''H'', then ''e''''H'' = ''e''''G''. *The inverse of an element in a subgroup is the inverse of the element in the group: if ''H'' is a subgroup of a group ''G'', and ''a'' and ''b'' are elements of ''H'' such that ''ab'' = ''ba'' = ''e''''H'', then ''ab'' = ''ba'' = ''e''''G''. *If ''H'' is a subgroup of ''G'', then the inclusion map ''H'' → ''G'' sending each element ''a'' of ''H'' to itself is a
homomorphism In algebra, a homomorphism is a morphism, structure-preserving map (mathematics), map between two algebraic structures of the same type (such as two group (mathematics), groups, two ring (mathematics), rings, or two vector spaces). The word ''homo ...
. *The intersection of subgroups ''A'' and ''B'' of ''G'' is again a subgroup of ''G''. For example, the intersection of the ''x''-axis and ''y''-axis in R under addition is the trivial subgroup. More generally, the intersection of an arbitrary collection of subgroups of ''G'' is a subgroup of ''G''. *The union of subgroups ''A'' and ''B'' is a subgroup if and only if ''A'' ⊆ ''B'' or ''B'' ⊆ ''A''. A non-example: 2Z ∪ 3Z is not a subgroup of Z, because 2 and 3 are elements of this subset whose sum, 5, is not in the subset. Similarly, the union of the x-axis and the y-axis in R is not a subgroup of R. *If ''S'' is a subset of ''G'', then there exists a smallest subgroup containing ''S'', namely the intersection of all of subgroups containing ''S''; it is denoted by and is called the subgroup generated by ''S''. An element of ''G'' is in if and only if it is a finite product of elements of ''S'' and their inverses, possibly repeated. *Every element ''a'' of a group ''G'' generates a cyclic subgroup . If is isomorphic to Z/''n''Z ( the integers mod ''n'') for some positive integer ''n'', then ''n'' is the smallest positive integer for which ''a''''n'' = ''e'', and ''n'' is called the ''order'' of ''a''. If is isomorphic to Z, then ''a'' is said to have ''infinite order''. *The subgroups of any given group form a complete lattice under inclusion, called the lattice of subgroups. (While the infimum here is the usual set-theoretic intersection, the supremum of a set of subgroups is the subgroup ''generated by'' the set-theoretic union of the subgroups, not the set-theoretic union itself.) If ''e'' is the identity of ''G'', then the trivial group is the minimum subgroup of ''G'', while the maximum subgroup is the group ''G'' itself.


Cosets and Lagrange's theorem

Given a subgroup ''H'' and some ''a'' in G, we define the left coset ''aH'' = . Because ''a'' is invertible, the map φ : ''H'' → ''aH'' given by φ(''h'') = ''ah'' is a
bijection In mathematics, a bijection, also known as a bijective function, one-to-one correspondence, or invertible function, is a function (mathematics), function between the elements of two set (mathematics), sets, where each element of one set is pair ...
. Furthermore, every element of ''G'' is contained in precisely one left coset of ''H''; the left cosets are the equivalence classes corresponding to the equivalence relation ''a''1 ~ ''a''2
if and only if In logic and related fields such as mathematics and philosophy, "if and only if" (shortened as "iff") is a biconditional logical connective between statements, where either both statements are true or both are false. The connective is bicondi ...
''a''1−1''a''2 is in ''H''. The number of left cosets of ''H'' is called the index of ''H'' in ''G'' and is denoted by . Lagrange's theorem states that for a finite group ''G'' and a subgroup ''H'', : G : H = where , ''G'', and , ''H'', denote the orders of ''G'' and ''H'', respectively. In particular, the order of every subgroup of ''G'' (and the order of every element of ''G'') must be a
divisor In mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented i ...
of , ''G'', .See
didactic proof in this video
Right cosets are defined analogously: ''Ha'' = . They are also the equivalence classes for a suitable equivalence relation and their number is equal to . If ''aH'' = ''Ha'' for every ''a'' in ''G'', then ''H'' is said to be a normal subgroup. Every subgroup of index 2 is normal: the left cosets, and also the right cosets, are simply the subgroup and its complement. More generally, if ''p'' is the lowest prime dividing the order of a finite group ''G,'' then any subgroup of index ''p'' (if such exists) is normal.


Example: Subgroups of Z8

Let ''G'' be the cyclic group Z8 whose elements are :G = \left\ and whose group operation is addition modulo 8. Its Cayley table is This group has two nontrivial subgroups: and , where ''J'' is also a subgroup of ''H''. The Cayley table for ''H'' is the top-left quadrant of the Cayley table for ''G''; The Cayley table for ''J'' is the top-left quadrant of the Cayley table for ''H''. The group ''G'' is cyclic, and so are its subgroups. In general, subgroups of cyclic groups are also cyclic.


Example: Subgroups of S4

Let S4 be the symmetric group on 4 elements. Below are all the subgroups of S4, listed according to the number of elements, in decreasing order.


24 elements

The whole group S4 is a subgroup of S4, of order 24. Its Cayley table is


12 elements


8 elements


6 elements


4 elements


3 elements


2 elements

Each element of order 2 in S4 generates a subgroup of order 2. There are 9 such elements: the \binom = 6 transpositions (2-cycles) and the three elements (12)(34), (13)(24), (14)(23).


1 element

The trivial subgroup is the unique subgroup of order 1 in S4.


Other examples

*The even integers form a subgroup 2Z of the integer ring Z: the sum of two even integers is even, and the negative of an even integer is even. *An ideal in a ring R is a subgroup of the additive group of R. *A
linear subspace In mathematics, and more specifically in linear algebra, a linear subspace, also known as a vector subspaceThe term ''linear subspace'' is sometimes used for referring to flat (geometry), flats and affine subspaces. In the case of vector spaces o ...
of a
vector space In mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in ...
is a subgroup of the additive group of vectors. *In an
abelian group In mathematics, an abelian group, also called a commutative group, is a group (mathematics), group in which the result of applying the group Operation (mathematics), operation to two group elements does not depend on the order in which they are w ...
, the elements of finite order form a subgroup called the torsion subgroup.


See also

* Cartan subgroup * Fitting subgroup * Stable subgroup * Fixed-point subgroup


Notes


References

* . * . * . * * * * {{Cite book , last=Ash , first=Robert B. , url=https://faculty.math.illinois.edu/~r-ash/Algebra.html , title=Abstract Algebra: The Basic Graduate Year , date=2002 , publisher=Department of Mathematics University of Illinois , language=en Group theory Subgroup properties