Quasithin group

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In mathematics, a quasithin group is a finite simple group that resembles a group of Lie type of rank at most 2 over a field of characteristic 2. More precisely it is a finite simple group of characteristic 2 type and width 2. Here characteristic 2 type means that its centralizers of involutions resemble those of groups of Lie type over fields of characteristic 2, and the width is roughly the maximal rank of an abelian group of odd order normalizing a non-trivial 2-subgroup of G. When G is a group of Lie type of characteristic 2 type, the width is usually the rank (the dimension of a maximal torus of the algebraic group).


The classification of quasithin groups is a crucial part of the classification of finite simple groups. The quasithin groups were classified in a 1221 page paper by Aschbacher and Smith (2004, 2004b). An earlier announcement by Mason (1980) of the classification, on which basis the classification of finite simple groups was announced as finished in 1983, was premature as the unpublished manuscript (Mason 1981) of his work was incomplete and contained serious gaps.

According to Aschbacher & Smith (2004b, theorem 0.1.1), the finite simple quasithin groups of even characteristic are given by

  • Groups of Lie type of characteristic 2 and rank 1 or 2, except that U5(q) only occurs for q=4.
  • PSL4(2), PSL5(2), Sp6(2)
  • The alternating groups on 5, 6, 8, 9, points.
  • PSL2(p) for p a Fermat or Mersenne prime, Lε
    (3), Lε
    (3), G2(3)
  • The Mathieu groups M11, M12, M22, M23, M24, The Janko groups J2, J3, J4, the Higman-Sims group, the Held group, and the Rudvalis group.

If the condition "even characteristic" is relaxed to "even type" in the sense of the Gorenstein-Lyons-Solomon revision of the classification, then the only extra group that appears is the Janko group J1.