Elements of a finitely generated group have a natural notion of length: namely the length of a shortest word over the generators that represents the element. This allows us to study the growth of such groups by considering the size of spheres with increasing radii. One current area of interest is the rationality or otherwise of the formal power series whose coefficients are the sphere sizes. I will describe a combinatorial way to study this series for the class of virtually abelian groups, introduced by Benson in the 1980s, and then outline its applications to other types of growth series.
- Junior Topology and Group Theory Seminar