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Random walks on finite groups
 Encyclopaedia of Mathematical Sciences
, 2004
"... Summary. Markov chains on finite sets are used in a great variety of situations to approximate, understand and sample from their limit distribution. A familiar example is provided by card shuffling methods. From this viewpoint, one is interested in the “mixing time ” of the chain, that is, the time ..."
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Cited by 20 (2 self)
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Summary. Markov chains on finite sets are used in a great variety of situations to approximate, understand and sample from their limit distribution. A familiar example is provided by card shuffling methods. From this viewpoint, one is interested in the “mixing time ” of the chain, that is, the time at which the chain gives a good approximation of the limit distribution. A remarkable phenomenon known as the cutoff phenomenon asserts that this often happens abruptly so that it really makes sense to talk about “the mixing time”. Random walks on finite groups generalize card shuffling models by replacing the symmetric group by other finite groups. One then would like to understand how the structure of a particular class of groups relates to the mixing time of natural random walks on those groups. It turns out that this is an extremely rich problem which is very far to be understood. Techniques from a great
Two Kazhdan constants and mixing of random walks
 Int. Math. Res. Not. 2002
, 2001
"... Let G be a group with Kazhdan’s property (T), and let S be a transitive generating set (there exists a group H ⊂ Aut(G) which acts transitively on S.) In this paper we relate two definitions of the Kazhdan constant and the eigenvalue gap in this case. Applications to various random walks on groups, ..."
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Let G be a group with Kazhdan’s property (T), and let S be a transitive generating set (there exists a group H ⊂ Aut(G) which acts transitively on S.) In this paper we relate two definitions of the Kazhdan constant and the eigenvalue gap in this case. Applications to various random walks on groups, and the product replacement random algorithm, are also presented. 1
Commutator maps, measure preservation, and Tsystems
"... Let G be a finite simple group. We show that the commutator map α: G × G → G is almost equidistributed as G  → ∞. This somewhat surprising result has many applications. It shows that for a subset X ⊆ G we have α −1 (X)/G  2 = X/G  + o(1), namely α is almost measure preserving. From this we ..."
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Let G be a finite simple group. We show that the commutator map α: G × G → G is almost equidistributed as G  → ∞. This somewhat surprising result has many applications. It shows that for a subset X ⊆ G we have α −1 (X)/G  2 = X/G  + o(1), namely α is almost measure preserving. From this we deduce that almost all elements g ∈ G can be expressed as commutators g = [x, y] where x, y generate G. This enables us to solve some open problems regarding Tsystems and the Product Replacement Algorithm (PRA) graph. We show that the number of Tsystems in G with two generators tends to infinity as G  → ∞. This settles a conjecture of Guralnick and Pak. A similar result follows for the number of connected components of the PRA graph of G with two generators. Some of our results apply for more general finite groups, and more general word maps. Our methods are based on representation theory, combining classical character theory with recent results on character degrees and values in finite simple groups. In particular the so called Witten zeta function ζ G (s) = � χ∈Irr(G) χ(1)−s plays a key role in the proofs.
A polynomialtime theory of matrix groups and black box groups
 in these Proceedings
"... We consider matrix groups, specified by a list of generators, over finite fields. The two most basic questions about such groups are membership in and the order of the group. Even in the case of abelian groups it is not known how to answer these questions without solving hard number theoretic proble ..."
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We consider matrix groups, specified by a list of generators, over finite fields. The two most basic questions about such groups are membership in and the order of the group. Even in the case of abelian groups it is not known how to answer these questions without solving hard number theoretic problems (factoring and discrete log); in fact, constructive membership testing in the case of 1 × 1 matrices is precisely the discrete log problem. So the reasonable question is whether these problems are solvable in randomized polynomial time using number theory oracles. Building on 25 years of work, including remarkable recent developments by several groups of authors, we are now able to determine the order of a matrix group over a finite field of odd characteristic, and to perform constructive membership testing in such groups, in randomized polynomial time, using oracles for factoring and discrete log. One of the new ingredients of this result is the following. A group is called semisimple if it has no abelian normal subgroups. For matrix groups over finite fields, we show that the order of the largest semisimple quotient can be determined in randomized polynomial time (no number theory oracles required and no restriction on parity). As a byproduct, we obtain a natural problem that belongs to BPP and is not known to belong either to RP or to coRP. No such problem outside the area of matrix groups appears to be known. The problem is the decision version of the above: Given a list A of nonsingular d × d matrices over a finite field and an integer N, does the group generated by A have a semisimple quotient of order ≥ N? We also make progress in the area of constructive recognition of simple groups, with the corollary that for a large class of matrix groups, our algorithms become Las Vegas.
Connectivity of the Product Replacement Algorithm Graph of PSL(2, q
, 2007
"... Abstract. The product replacement algorithm is a practical algorithm to construct random elements of a finite group G. It can be described as a random walk on a graph Γk(G) whose vertices are the generating ktuples of G (for a fixed k). We show that if G = PSL(2, q) or PGL(2, q), where q is a prime ..."
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Abstract. The product replacement algorithm is a practical algorithm to construct random elements of a finite group G. It can be described as a random walk on a graph Γk(G) whose vertices are the generating ktuples of G (for a fixed k). We show that if G = PSL(2, q) or PGL(2, q), where q is a prime power, then Γk(G) is connected for any k ≥ 4. This generalizes former results obtained by Gilman and Evans. 1.
CONNECTIVITY OF THE PRODUCT REPLACEMENT GRAPH OF SIMPLE GROUPS OF BOUNDED LIE RANK
, 710
"... Abstract. The Product Replacement Algorithm is a practical algorithm for generating random elements of a finite group. The algorithm can be described as a random walk on a graph whose vertices are the generating ktuples of the group (for a fixed k). We show that there is a function c(r) such that f ..."
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Abstract. The Product Replacement Algorithm is a practical algorithm for generating random elements of a finite group. The algorithm can be described as a random walk on a graph whose vertices are the generating ktuples of the group (for a fixed k). We show that there is a function c(r) such that for any finite simple group of Lie type, with Lie rank r, the Product Replacement Graph of the generating ktuples is connected for any k ≥ c(r). The proof uses results of Larsen and Pink [17] and does not rely on the classification of finite simple groups. 1.
Professor Alexander LubotzkyIn memory of my mother
"... I would like to thank my Ph.D. adviser, Alex Lubotzky, for introducing me to the fascinating research problems related to the Product Replacement Algorithm, for giving me new insights, and for his support and good advice. I am grateful to Aner Shalev, who was a member of my research committee and al ..."
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I would like to thank my Ph.D. adviser, Alex Lubotzky, for introducing me to the fascinating research problems related to the Product Replacement Algorithm, for giving me new insights, and for his support and good advice. I am grateful to Aner Shalev, who was a member of my research committee and also an editor of my paper [36] (which appears in Chapter 6), for many interesting discussions and insights, some of them led to our joint paper [37] (which appears in Chapters 4 and 5). I have studied a lot from the experience of writing a joint paper with him. I am thankful to Avinoam Mann, who was another member of my research committee, for many useful discussions and for his patient and detailed answers to my questions in group theory. I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Nir Avni, for many fruitful discussions and for enlightening me with new ideas, some of them led to our joint paper [3] (which appears in Chapter 7). I am grateful to Michael Larsen for explaining me the results in his paper [54], that were used in my joint work with Nir Avni [3] (which appears in Chapter 7). I am thankful to Martin Kassabov for interesting discussions and brilliant insights, some of