# Chapter 7. Permutation Groups

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1 Chapter 7 Permutation Groups () We started the study of groups by considering planar isometries In the previous chapter, we learnt that finite groups of planar isometries can only be cyclic or dihedral groups Furthermore, all the groups we have seen so far are, up to isomorphisms, either cyclic or dihedral groups! It is thus natural to wonder whether there are finite groups out there which cannot be interpreted as isometries of the plane To answer this question, we will study next permutations Permutations are usually studied as combinatorial objects, we will see in this chapter that they have a natural group structure, and in fact, there is a deep connection between finite groups and permutations! We know intuitively what is a permutation: we have some objects from a set, and we exchange their positions However, to work more precisely, we need a formal definition of what is a permutation 47

2 48 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Question 2 after Lagrange Theorem QUESTION 2: are there finite groups which are not isomorphic to planar isometries (cyclic or dihedral groups)? Order abelian groups non-abelian groups {} x 2 C 2 x 3 C 3 x 4 C 4, Klein group x 5 C 5 x 6 C 6 D 3 7 C 7 x 8 C 8 D 4 infinite What is a Permutation? (I) Intuitively, we know what a permutation is 345%20netjpg

3 49 Definition 5 A permutation of a set X is a function σ : X X that is one-to-one and onto, ie, a bijective map Let us make a small example to understand better the connection between the intuition and the formal definition Example 25 Consider a set X containing 3 objects, say a triangle, a circle and a square A permutation of X = {,, } might send for example,,, and we observe that what just did is exactly to define a bijection on the set X, namely a map σ : X X defined as σ( ) =, σ( ) =, σ( ) = Since what matters for a permutation is how many objects we have and not the nature of the objects, we can always consider a permutation on a set of n objects where we label the objects by {,, n} The permutation of Example 25 can then be rewritten as σ : {, 2, 3} {, 2, 3} such that σ() =, σ(2) = 3, σ(3) = 2, or σ = ( Permutation maps, being bijective, have inverses and the maps combine naturally under composition of maps, which is associative There is a natural identity permutation σ : X X, X = {, 2, 3,, n} which is σ(k) k Therefore all the permutations of a set X = {, 2,, n} form a group under composition This group is called the symmetric group S n of degree n What is the order of S n? Let us count how many permutations of {, 2,, n} we have We have to fill the boxes 2 3 n with numbers {, 2,, n} with no repetitions For box, we have n possible candidates Once one number has been used, for box 2, we have (n ) candidates, Therefore we have permutations and the order of S n is n(n )(n 2) = n! S n = n! )

4 50 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS What is a Permutation? (II) What is formally a permutation? A permutation of an arbitrary set X is a bijection from X to itself Recall that a bijection is both an injection and a surjection What is a Permutation? (III) Bridging intuition and formalism X={ } Define an arbitrary bijection

5 5 Notation If X =n, we label the n elements by n ( ) ( 2 3 ) 3 2 Combining Permutations ( 2 3 ) 2 3 ( 2 3 ( 3 2 = ) ) It s a composition, so this permutation first!

6 52 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Group Structure of Permutations (I) All permutations of a set X of n elements form a group under composition, called the symmetric group Composition of two on n elements, denoted by S n bijections is a bijection Identity = do-nothing (do no permutation) Every permutation has an inverse, the inverse permutation A permutation is a bijection! Non abelian (the two permutations of the previous slide do not commute for example!) Group Structure of Permutations (II) The order of the group S n of permutations on a set X of elements is n! 2 n- n n choices n- choices 2 choices choice S n =n!

7 53 Let us see a few examples of symmetric groups S n Example 26 If n =, S identity! contains only one element, the permutation Example 27 If n = 2, then X = {, 2}, and we have only two permutations: and σ :, 2 2 σ 2 : 2, 2, and S 2 = {σ, σ 2 } The Cayley table of S 2 is σ σ 2 σ σ σ 2 σ 2 σ 2 σ Let us introduce the cycle notation We write (2) to mean that is sent to 2, and 2 is sent to With this notation, we write S 2 = {(), (2)} This group is isomorphic to C 2, and it is abelian The permutation σ = ( of Example 25 in the cycle notation is written as (23) We can combine two such permutations: (2)(23) which means that we first permute 2 and 3: and then we permute and 2: Let us look next at the group S 3 )

8 54 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Permutations on a Set of 2 Elements X =2, X={, 2} S 2 = 2, S 2 ={ σ,σ 2 }, σ : 2 2, σ 2 : 2 2 σ σ 2 σ σ 2 σ σ 2 σ 2 σ Cycle Notation ( 2 3 ) (23) 3 2 ( 2 3 ) 2 3 ( 2 3 ) (2)(23) thus thus thus 32 23

9 55 Example 28 If n = 3, we consider the set X = {, 2, 3} Since 3! = 6, we have 6 permutations: S 3 = {σ = (), σ 2 = (2), σ 3 = (3), σ 4 = (23), σ 5 = (23), σ 6 = (32)} We compute the Cayley table of S 3 () (2) (23) (3) (23) (32) () () (2) (23) (3) (23) (32) (2) (2) () (23) (32) (23) (3) (23) (23) (32) () (23) (3) (2) (3) (3) (23) (32) () (2) (23) (23) (23) (3) (2) (23) (32) () (32) (32) (23) (3) (2) () (23) We see from the Cayley table that S 3 is indeed isomorphic to D 3! This can also be seen geometrically as follows Consider an equilateral triangle, and label its 3 vertices by A, B, C, and label the locations of the plane where each is by,2,3 (thus vertex A is at location, vertex B at location 2 and vertex C as location 3) Let us now rotate the triangle by r (20 degrees counterclockwise), to find that now, at position we have C, at position 2 we have A and at position 3 we have B, and we apply all the symmetries of the triangle, and see which vertex is sent to position,2, and 3 respectively: 2 3 A B C () r C A B (23) r 2 B C A (23) m A C B (23) rm B A C (2) r 2 m C B A (3) and we see that to each symmetry corresponds a permutation For example, r sends ABC to CAB and thus we have (32)

10 56 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Permutations on a Set of 3 Elements X =3, X={ 2 3} σ :23 23 (), σ 2 :23 23 (2),σ 3 :23 32 (3), σ 4 :23 32 (23), σ 5 : (23), σ 6 : (32) () (,2) (2,3) (,3) (,2,3) (,3,2) () () (,2) (2,3) (,3) (,2,3) (,3,2) (,2) (,2) () (,2,3) (,3,2) (2,3) (,3) (2,3) (2,3) (,3,2) () (,2,3) (,3) (,2) (,3) (,3) (,2,3) (,3,2) () (,2) (2,3) (,2,3) (,2,3) (,3) (,2) (2,3) (,3,2) () (,3,2) (,3,2) (2,3) (,3) (,2) () (,2,3) The Symmetric Group S 3

11 57 Have we found New Groups? S 2? S 3? since S 2 =2, it is the cyclic group C 2! We know S 3 =3!=6, and it is non-abelian We also know D 3 =2 3=6 and it is non-abelian S 3 vs D 3 () (2) (23) (3) (23) (32) () () (,2) (2,3) (,3) (23) (32) (,2) (,2) () (23) (32) (2,3) (,3) (2,3) (2,3) (32) () (23) (,3) (,2) (,3) (,3) (23) (32) () (,2) (2,3) (23) (23) (,3) (,2) (2,3) (32) () (32) (32) (2,3) (,3) (,2) () (23) r r 2 m rm r 2 m r r 2 m rm r 2 m r r r 2 rm r 2 m m r 2 r 2 r r 2 m m rm m m r 2 m rm r 2 r rm rm m r 2 m r r 2 r 2 m r 2 m rm m r 2 r Are they isomorphic?

12 58 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS D 3 revisited B 2 A Fix 3 locations on the plane:, 2, 3 Call A,B,C the 3 triangle vertices C A B C () r C A B (23) r 2 B C A (23) m A C B (23) rm B A C (2) r 2 m C B A (3) Question 2: more Bad News! QUESTION 2: are there finite groups which are not isomorphic to planar isometries (cyclic or dihedral groups)? Order abelian groups non-abelian groups {} x 2 C 2 = S 2 x 3 C 3 x 4 C 4, Klein group x 5 C 5 x 6 C 6 D 3 = S 3 7 C 7 x 8 C 8 D 4 More work is needed! infinite

13 59 Thus despite the introduction of a new type of groups, the groups of permutations, we still have not found a finite group which is not a cyclic or a dihedral group We need more work! For that, we start by noting that permutations can be described in terms of matrices Any permutation σ of the elements {, 2,, n} can be described by σ() σ(2) σ(n) 0 0 = = 0 0 n e T σ() e T σ(n) } {{ } P σ where the kth row of the binary matrix is given by e T σ(k) = (0,, 0,, 0,, 0), where is at location σ(k) Now e,, e n are a set of orthogonal vectors, that is, satisfying { 0 if k s e T k e s = e k, e s = δ ks = if k = s, (7) n, which form a standard basis of R n matrix P σ Let us derive some properties of the Property The matrix P σ is orthogonal, that is P σ Pσ T = I n, where I n is the identity matrix This follows from e T σ() e T σ(2) [ ] e T σ() e T σ(2) e T σ(n) = eσ(i), e σ(j) = I n e T σ(n) using (7) Hence the inverse of a permutation matrix is its transpose Property 2 we get Using that det(ab) = det(a) det(b) and det(a T ) = det(a), det(p σ P T σ ) = det(i) = Therefore det(p σ ) = ± (det(p T σ ) = det(p σ ) (det P σ ) 2 = )

14 60 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Permutation Matrices : Definition [ 0 0 ][ ]=[ ] If σ is a permutation on X={ n}, then it can be represented by a permutation matrix P σ kth row has a at position σ(k) ( ) [ 0 0 ][ ]=[ σ() ] 0 0 n σ(n) Permutation Matrices: Properties P σ P σt = [ ][ ]=[ ] p p p n T p n T Every row/column has only a A permutation matrix as an orthogonal matrix! det(p σ P σ T )= det(p σ )= or -

15 6 Property 3 We will show next that any permutation can be decomposed as a chain of elementary permutations called transpositions, or exchanges We consider the permutation σ given by σ() e T σ() = σ(n) n e T σ(n) We shall produce σ from (, 2,, n) by successively moving σ() to the first place and to the place of σ(), then σ(2) to the second place and whoever is in the second place after the first exchange to the place of σ(2) place, etc After moving σ() to the first place, using a matrix P, we get σ() 2 n = P n n 2 σ() After this step, we use an (n ) (n ) permutation matrix to bring σ(2) to the second place as follows (without affecting σ()): σ() σ(2) 2 n n [ ] 0 = 0 P (n ) (n ) σ() 2 σ(2) and so on From this process, it is clear that at every stage we have either a matrix of exchange in which two rows of the identity are exchanged, or if the output happens to have the next value in its designated place an identity matrix The process will necessarily terminate after n steps and will yield the permutation σ as desired n,

16 62 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Transpositions A transposition (exchange) is a permutation that swaps two elements and does not change the others In cycle notation, a transposition has the form (i j) Example: ( 2) on the set X={,2,3,4} means In matrix notation, a transposition is an identity matrix, but for for two rows that are swapped [ ] Decomposition in Transpositions (I) Any permutation can be decomposed as a product of transpositions st row, at ith position ith row, at st position [ 0000 ] ]=[ ] 0 0 [ i n i=σ() σ() Place similarly σ(2) at the 2nd position, σ(3) at the 3 rd position etc, this process stops at most after n steps! (since at every step, either two rows are exchanged, or we have an identity matrix if nothing needs to be changed)

17 63 Hence we will be able to write σ() σ(2) = E ne n E 2 E 2 σ(n) n { either an elementary exchange matrix of size n n where E i = or an identity matrix of size n n Now, we know from the property of the determinant that exchanging two rows in a matrix induces a sign change in the determinant Hence we have { if it is a proper exchange det E i = if it is I n n Therefore we have shown that for any permutation, we have a decomposition into a sequence of transpositions (or exchanges), and we need at most n of them to obtain any permutation Hence for any σ we have: P σ = E n E n E and det P σ = det E n det E n det E = ( ) # of exchanges

18 64 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Example [ [ [ ] [ 3 ] σ()= [ [ [ 3 3 ] σ(2)= 2 2 ] [ Decomposition in Transpositions (II) E n E 2 E [ ]=[ ] n σ() σ(n) P σ where E i is either an identity matrix, or a transposition (exchange) matrix det(e i )=- for a transposition, and for the identity, thus det(p σ )=(-) #exchanges

19 65 The above development enable us to define the permutation to be even if and odd if det P σ =, det P σ = Definition 6 The sign/signature of a permutation σ is the determinant of P σ It is either if the permutation is even or - otherwise We have a natural way to combine permutations as bijective maps In matrix form, we have that if σ A () σ B () P σa =, P σb = then n σ A (n) n P σa P σb = P σb σ A σ B (n) The description of a permutation via transposition is not unique but the parity is an invariant We also have that sign(σ A σ B ) = sign(σ A )sign(σ B ) Then we have the multiplication rule This shows the following det(p σb P σa ) = det(p σb ) det(p σa ) even odd even even odd odd odd even Theorem 4 All even permutations form a subgroup of permutations Proof Clearly the identity matrix is an even permutation, since its determinant is Product of even permutations is even, thus closure is satisfied The inverse of an even permutation must be even To show this, we know P T σ P σ = I, so det(p T σ ) = det(p σ ) det(p T σ ) = if det(p σ ) = Definition 7 The subgroup A n of even permutations of the symmetric group S n is called the alternating group

20 66 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Parity of a Permutation A permutation is even if det(p σ )= and odd if det(p σ )=- The sign/signature of a permutation σ is sign(σ)=det(p σ ) Example (32) : thus (3) : thus (2)(3) : sign(32)=(-) 2 = Same result from the matrix approach! The decomposition in transpositions is far from unique! It is the signature which is unique!!! The Alternating Group The subset of S n formed by even permutations is a group, called the alternating group A n The identity is the do-nothing permutation σ= (), its permutation matrix is the identity, and its determinant is and sign(())=, that is () is even The composition of two even permutations is even, since det(p σ P σ2 )= det(p σ ) det(p σ2 )= = If σ is a permutation with matrix P σ, then its inverse permutation has matrix P σ T Now det(p σ P σt )= and since det(p σ )=, we must have det(p σt )=!

21 67 Example 29 When n = 3, we consider the symmetric group S 3, and identify those permutations which are even Among the 6 permutations of S 3, 3 are odd and 3 are even Thus A 3 is isomorphic to the cyclic group C 3 of order 3 An interesting immediate fact is that the size of the subgroup of even permutations is n!, since for every even permutation, one can uniquely associate an odd one by exchanging the first two elements! 2 Let us go back once more to our original question We are looking for a group which is not isomorphic to a group of finite planar isometries Since A 3 is isomorphic to a cyclic group, let us consider the next example, namely A 4 Since 4! = 24, we know that A 4 = 2 There is a dihedral group D 6 which also has order 2 Are the two groups isomorphic? Lagrange theorem tells us that elements of A 4 have an order which divides 2, so it could be,2,3,4 or 2 We can compute that there are exactly 3 elements of order 2: and 8 elements of order 3: (2)(34), (3)(24), (4)(23), (23), (32), (24), (42), (34), (43), (234), (243) This shows that A 4 and D 6 cannot be isomorphic! We thus just found our first example, to show that there is more than cyclic and dihedral groups!

22 68 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Example: A 3 () (2) (23) (3) (23) (32) () () (,2) (2,3) (,3) (23) (32) (,2) (,2) () (23) (32) (2,3) (,3) (2,3) (2,3) (32) () (23) (,3) (,2) (,3) (,3) (23) (32) () (,2) (2,3) (23) (23) (,3) (,2) (2,3) (32) () (32) (32) (2,3) (,3) (,2) () (23) () (23) (32) () () (23) (32) (23) (23) (32) () (32) (32) () (23) It is the cyclic group of order 3! Order of A n The order of A n is A n = S n /2 = n!/2 Proof To every even permutation can be associated uniquely an odd one by permuting the first two elements! Examples A 2 is of order this is {} A 3 is of order 3!/2=6/2=3 this is C 3 A 4 is of order 4!/2 =24/2=2?

23 69 Question 2: one more Bad News?? QUESTION 2: are there finite groups which are not isomorphic to planar isometries (cyclic or dihedral groups)? Order abelian groups non-abelian groups {} x 2 C 2 = S 2 x 3 C 3 x 4 C 4, Klein group x 5 C 5 x 6 C 6 D 3 = S 3 7 C 7 x 8 C 8 D 4 2 C 2 D 6, A 4 Order of Elements in A 4 Lagrange Theorem tells us:,2,3,4,6,2 In fact: 3 elements of order 2, namely (2)(34), (3)(24), (4)(23) And 8 elements of order 3, namely (23),(32),(24),(42),(34),(43),(234),(243) A 4 and D 6 are not isomorphic!

24 70 CHAPTER 7 PERMUTATION GROUPS Exercises for Chapter 7 Exercise 36 Let σ be a permutation on 5 elements given by σ = (5243) Compute sign(σ) (that is, the parity of the permutation) Exercise 37 Show that any permutation of the form (ijk) is always contained in the alternating group A n, n 3 2 Deduce that A n is a non-abelian group for n 4 Exercise 38 Let H = {σ S 5 σ() =, σ(3) = 3} Is H a subgroup of S 5? Exercise 39 In the lecture, we gave the main steps to show that the group D 6 cannot be isomorphic to the group A 4, though both of them are of order 2 and non-abelian This exercise is about filling some of the missing details Check that ( 2)(3 4) is indeed of order 2 Check that ( 2 3) is indeed of order 3 By looking at the possible orders of elements of D 6, prove that A 4 and D 6 cannot be isomorphic

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