In this project we wish to explore theoretical, as well as practical, aspects of solving equations in free groups. We will first consider a particular type of equation that occurs while solving the endomorphism problem in free groups. We say that the endom orphism problem is solvable for an element W in a group G if it can be decided effectively whether or not, given U in G, there is an endomorphism of G sending Wto U. We aim to display a polynomial-time algorithm that solves the endomorphism problem in free groups and also analyse the endomorphism problem from the perspective of generic-time complexity as developed by Schupp, Kapovich, Myasnikov and Shpilrain.
Another goal of this project is the classification of equations in free groups in the following sense. We call a group G separable with respect to a class of equations if, for every equation in the class with no solution in G, there is a finite quotient of G in which the equation has no solution. We want to determine what classes of equations the free groups are separable with respect to.
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