Boundaries of Hyperbolic Groups

7 November 2018
Sam Colvin

You’re an amateur investigator hired to uncover the mysterious goings on of a dark cult. They call themselves Geometric Group Theorists and they’re under suspicion of pushing humanity’s knowledge too far. You’ve tracked them down to their supposed headquarters. Foolishly, you enter. Your mind writhes as you gaze unwittingly upon the Eldritch horror they’ve summoned… Group Theory! You think fast; donning the foggy glasses of quasi-isometry, you prevent your mind shattering from the unfathomable complexity of The Beast. You spy a weak spot and the phrase `Gromov Hyperbolicity’ flashes across your mind. You peer deeper, further, forever… only to find yourself somewhere rather familiar, strange, but familiar… no, self-similar! You’ve fought with fractals before, this weirdness can be tamed! Your insight is sufficient and The Beast retreats for now.
In other words, given an infinite group, we associate to it an infinite graph, called a Cayley graph, which gives us a notion of the ‘geometry’ of a group. Through this we can ask what kind of groups have hyperbolic geometry, or at least an approximation of it called Gromov hyperbolicity. Hyperbolic groups are quite a nice class of groups but a large one, so we introduce the Gromov boundary of a hyperbolic group and explain how it can be used to distinguish groups in this class.

  • Junior Topology and Group Theory Seminar