Product-Free Subsets of the Alternating Group

16 February 2016
Sean Eberhard

There is an obvious product-free subset of the symmetric group of density 1/2, but what about the alternating group? An argument of Gowers shows that a product-free subset of the alternating group can have density at most n^(-1/3), but we only know examples of density n^(-1/2 + o(1)). We'll talk about why in fact n^(-1/2 + o(1)) is the right answer, why
Gowers's argument can't prove that, and how this all fits in with a more general 'product mixing' phenomenon. Our tools include some nonabelian Fourier analysis, a version of entropy subadditivity adapted to the symmetric group, and a concentration-of-measure result for rearrangements of inner products.

  • Combinatorial Theory Seminar