Growth in soluble linear groups over finite fields

12 March 2020
Brendan Murphy

In joint work with James Wheeler, we show that if a subset $A$ of $GL_n(\mathbb{F}_q)$ is a $K$-approximate group and the group $G$ it generates is soluble, then there are subgroups $U$ and $S$ of $G$ and a constant $k$ depending only on $n$ such that:

$A$ quickly generates $U$: $U\subseteq A^k$,
$S$ contains a large proportion of $A$: $|A^k\cap S| \gg K^{-k}|A|, and
$S/U$ is nilpotent.

Briefly: approximate soluble linear groups over any finite field are (almost) finite by nilpotent.

The proof uses a sum-product theorem and exponential sum estimates, as well as some representation theory, but the presentation will be mostly self-contained.

  • Number Theory Seminar