# Schreier's lemma

(Redirected from Schreier's subgroup lemma)

In mathematics, Schreier's lemma is a theorem in group theory used in the Schreier–Sims algorithm and also for finding a presentation of a subgroup.

## Definition

Suppose $H$ is a subgroup of $G$, which is finitely generated with generating set $S$, that is, G = $\scriptstyle \langle S\rangle$.

Let $R$ be a right transversal of $H$ in $G$. In other words, $R$ is (the image of) a section of the quotient map $G \to H\backslash G$, where $H\backslash G$ denotes the set of right cosets of $H$ in $G$.

We make the definition that given $g$$G$, $\overline{g}$ is the chosen representative in the transversal $R$ of the coset $Hg$, that is,

$g\in H\overline{g}.$

Then $H$ is generated by the set

$\{rs(\overline{rs})^{-1}|r\in R, s\in S\}$

## Example

Let us establish the evident fact that the group Z3 = Z/3Z is indeed cyclic. Via Cayley's theorem, Z3 is a subgroup of the symmetric group S3. Now,

$\Bbb{Z}_3=\{ e, (1\ 2\ 3), (1\ 3\ 2) \}$
$S_3= \{ e, (1\ 2), (1\ 3), (2\ 3), (1\ 2\ 3), (1\ 3\ 2) \}$

where $e$ is the identity permutation. Note S3 = $\scriptstyle\langle${ s1=(1 2), s2 = (1 2 3) }$\scriptstyle\rangle$.

Z3 has just two cosets, Z3 and S3 \ Z3, so we select the transversal { t1 = e, t2=(1 2) }, and we have

$\begin{matrix} t_1s_1 = (1\ 2),&\quad\text{so}\quad&\overline{t_1s_1} = (1\ 2)\\ t_1s_2 = (1\ 2\ 3) ,&\quad\text{so}\quad& \overline{t_1s_2} = e\\ t_2s_1 = e ,&\quad\text{so}\quad& \overline{t_2s_1} = e\\ t_2s_2 = (2\ 3) ,&\quad\text{so}\quad& \overline{t_2s_2} = (1\ 2). \\ \end{matrix}$

Finally,

$t_1s_1\overline{t_1s_1}^{-1} = e$
$t_1s_2\overline{t_1s_2}^{-1} = (1\ 2\ 3)$
$t_2s_1\overline{t_2s_1}^{-1} = e$
$t_2s_2\overline{t_2s_2}^{-1} = (1\ 2\ 3).$

Thus, by Schreier's subgroup lemma, { e, (1 2 3) } generates Z3, but having the identity in the generating set is redundant, so we can remove it to obtain another generating set for Z3, { (1 2 3) } (as expected).

## References

• Seress, A. Permutation Group Algorithms. Cambridge University Press, 2002.