# Simple finite group

finite simple group

A finite group without normal subgroups (cf. Normal subgroup) different from the trivial subgroup and the whole group. The finite simple groups are the smallest "building blocks" from which one can "construct" any finite group by means of extensions. Every factor of a composition sequence of a finite group is a finite simple group, while a minimal normal subgroup is a direct product of finite simple groups. The cyclic groups of prime order are the easiest examples of finite simple groups. Only these finite simple groups occur as factors of composition sequences of solvable groups (cf. Solvable group). All other finite simple groups are non-solvable, and their orders are even (cf. Burnside problem 1)). The alternating groups $\mathfrak A _ {n}$, the projective special linear groups $\mathop{\rm PSL} ( n , q )$ over a finite field of order $q$, the projective symplectic groups $\mathop{\rm PSP} ( 2 n , q )$, the projective orthogonal groups $\textrm{ P } \Omega ( n , q )$, and the projective unitary groups $\mathop{\rm PSU} ( n , q ^ {2} )$ give an infinite number of examples of non-cyclic finite simple groups. All finite simple groups listed were already known in the 19th century. Besides these, at the end of that century $5$ more groups were discovered (cf. Mathieu group). At the beginning of the 20th century finite analogues of the simple Lie groups of type $G _ {2}$(

cf. Dickson group) were constructed. The discovery of new infinite series of finite simple groups, in the 1950s, made it possible to obtain the majority of types of known simple groups from automorphism groups of simple Lie algebras (cf. Chevalley group). The known infinite series of finite simple groups are listed in the table below.

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 Denotations, related to the type of the corresponding Lie algebras Alternative denotations Conditions of existence of a simple finite group Order of the group $d$ $\mathbf Z _ {p}$ $p$ a prime number $p$ $\mathfrak A _ {l}$ $l \geq 5$ $l! / 2$ $A _ {l} ( q)$ PSL $( l+ 1 , q )$ $l \geq 2 ; l = 1 , q \geq 4$ $q ^ {l( l+ 1)/2 } ( q ^ {2} - 1) \dots ( q ^ {l+} 1 - 1) /d$ $( l+ 1 , q- 1 )$ $B _ {l} ( q)$ $\textrm{ P } \Omega ( 2l+ 1, q)$ $l \geq 3; l= 2, q\geq 3; l= 1 , q \geq 4$ $q ^ {l ^ {2} } ( q ^ {2} - 1) \dots ( q ^ {2l} - 1)/d$ $( 2 , q- 1)$ $C _ {l} ( q)$ PSP $( 2l, q)$ $l \geq 3; l= 2, q \geq 3; l= 1 , q \geq 4$ $q ^ {l ^ {2} } ( q ^ {2} - 1) \dots ( q ^ {2l} - 1)/d$ $( 2 , q- 1)$ $D _ {l} ( q)$ P $\Omega ^ {+} ( 2l , q)$ $l \geq 3$ $q ^ {l ( l- 1) } ( q ^ {2} - 1) \dots ( q ^ {2l-} 2 - 1)( q ^ {l} - 1)/d$ $( 4 , q ^ {l} - 1)$ $E _ {6} ( q)$ $q ^ {36} ( q ^ {2} - 1 )( q ^ {5} - 1) ( q ^ {6} - 1) ( q ^ {8} - 1 )( q ^ {9} - 1 )( q ^ {12} - 1) /d$ $( 3 , q- 1 )$ $E _ {7} ( q)$ $q ^ {63} ( q ^ {2} - 1 )( q ^ {6} - 1) ( q ^ {8} - 1) ( q ^ {10} - 1 )( q ^ {12} - 1 )( q ^ {14} - 1) ( q ^ {18} - 1 )/d$ $( 2 , q- 1)$ $E _ {8} ( q)$ $q ^ {120} ( q ^ {2} - 1 )( q ^ {8} - 1) ( q ^ {12} - 1)( q ^ {14} - 1 ) ( q ^ {18} - 1) ( q ^ {20} - 1 ) ( q ^ {24} - 1 ) ( q ^ {30} - 1)$ $F _ {4} ( q)$ $q ^ {24} ( q ^ {2} - 1 )( q ^ {6} - 1)( q ^ {8} - 1)( q ^ {12} - 1)$ $G _ {2} ( q)$ $q ^ {6} ( q ^ {2} - 1 )( q ^ {6} - 1 )$ ${} ^ {2} A _ {l} ( q ^ {2} )$ PSU $( l+ 1, q ^ {2} )$ $l\geq 3; l= 2, q\geq 3; l = 1 , q \geq 4$ $q ^ {l( l+ 1)/2 } ( q ^ {2} - 1 )( q ^ {3} + 1 ) \dots ( q ^ {l+} 1 + ( - 1 ) ^ {l} ) / d$ $( l+ 1 , q+ 1 )$ ${} ^ {2} D _ {l} ( q ^ {2} )$ P $\Omega ^ {-} ( 2l , q )$ $l \geq 2$ $q ^ {l( l- 1 ) /2 } ( q ^ {2} - 1 )( q ^ {4} - 1) \dots ( q ^ {2l-} 2 - 1)( q ^ {l} + 1 ) /d$ $( 4 , q ^ {l} + 1 )$ ${} ^ {2} E _ {6} ( q ^ {2} )$ $q ^ {36} ( q ^ {2} - 1 ) ( q ^ {5} + 1 )( q ^ {6} - 1)( q ^ {8} - 1)( q ^ {9} + 1)( q ^ {12} - 1) / d$ $( 3 , q+ 1)$ ${} ^ {3} D _ {4} ( q ^ {3} )$ $q ^ {12} ( q ^ {2} - 1)( q ^ {6} - 1)( q ^ {8} + q ^ {4} + 1 )$ ${} ^ {2} B _ {2} ( q)$ $Sz( q)$ $q= 2 ^ {2l+} 1$ $q ^ {2} ( q- 1)( q ^ {2} + 1 )$ ${} ^ {2} G _ {2} ( q)$ $R( q)$ $q= 3 ^ {3l+} 1$ $q ^ {3} ( q- 1)( q ^ {3} + 1)$ ${} ^ {2} F _ {4} ( q) ^ \prime$ $q = 2 ^ {2l-} 1$ $q ^ {12} ( q- 1)( q ^ {3} + 1)( q 4 - 1)( q ^ {6} + 1)/d$ $\begin{array}{c} {2 \textrm{ for } q = 2 } \\ {1 for q > 2 } \end{array}$

Here, $q$ is a non-zero power of a prime number, $l$ is a natural number and $( s , t )$ is the greatest common divisor of two numbers $s$ and $t$. Apart from those in the table, 26 other finite simple groups are known; they do not fit in any infinite series of finite simple groups (the so-called sporadic simple groups, cf. Sporadic simple group).

A basic problem in the theory of finite simple groups is the problem of classifying all of them. It consists of the proof that every finite simple group is isomorphic to one of the known ones. Another basic problem is the study of properties of the known simple groups: the study of matrix representations for them (cf. Finite group, representation of a); the description of all primitive permutation representations (cf. Permutation group) or, more generally, representations as automorphism groups of various mathematical objects (graphs, finite geometries); the description of the subgroups, in particular, maximal subgroups; etc.

How to Cite This Entry:
Simple finite group. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL: http://encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php?title=Simple_finite_group&oldid=48704
This article was adapted from an original article by V.D. Mazurov (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article