The notion of automatic groups emerged from conversations between Bill Thurston and Jim Cannon on the nice algorithmic properties of Kleinian groups. In this introductory talk we will define automatic groups and then discuss why they are interesting. This centres on how automatic groups subsume many other classes of groups (e.g. hyperbolic groups, finitely generated Coxeter groups, and braid groups) and have good properties (e.g. finite presentability, fast solution to the word problem, and type FP∞).
- Junior Topology and Group Theory Seminar