Date & Time: Monday, May 17, 2010, 16:30-17:30.
Venue: Ramanujan Hall

Title: The Word Problem

Speaker: Siddhartha Gadgil, IISc, Bangalore

Abstract: The word problem is the problem of determining whether a given word in the generators of a finitely presented group represents the trivial element. A closely related decision problem is the conjugacy problem - to decide whether two given elements are conjugate. These are both special cases of the general problem of determining whether an equation in a group has a solution.

We shall discuss the word problem and other related decision problems, primarily in the spirit of viewing them as model problems in mathematics. We illustrate the different points of view that are fruitful in addressing them. We also briefly discuss problems that cannot be reduced to such problems of equations over groups.

This talk is in part motivated by the goal of using automated reasoning tools as assistants to mathematicians.