A characterization of wreath products where knapsack is decidable
Abstract
The knapsack problem for groups was introduced by Miasnikov, Nikolaev, and Ushakov. It is defined for each finitely generated group $G$ and takes as input group elements $g_1,\ldots,g_n,g\in G$ and asks whether there are $x_1,\ldots,x_n\ge 0$ with $g_1^{x_1}\cdots g_n^{x_n}=g$. We study the knapsack problem for wreath products $G\wr H$ of groups $G$ and $H$. Our main result is a characterization of those wreath products $G\wr H$ for which the knapsack problem is decidable. The characterization is in terms of decidability properties of the indiviual factors $G$ and $H$. To this end, we introduce two decision problems, the intersection knapsack problem and its restriction, the positive intersection knapsack problem. Moreover, we apply our main result to $H_3(\mathbb{Z})$, the discrete Heisenberg group, and to BaumslagSolitar groups $\mathsf{BS}(1,q)$ for $q\ge 1$. First, we show that the knapsack problem is undecidable for $G\wr H_3(\mathbb{Z})$ for any $G\ne 1$. This implies that for $G\ne 1$ and for infinite and virtually nilpotent groups $H$, the knapsack problem for $G\wr H$ is decidable if and only if $H$ is virtually abelian and solvability of systems of exponent equations is decidable for $G$. Second, we show that the knapsack problem is decidable for $G\wr\mathsf{BS}(1,q)$ if and only if solvability of systems of exponent equations is decidable for $G$.
 Publication:

arXiv eprints
 Pub Date:
 January 2021
 DOI:
 10.48550/arXiv.2101.06132
 arXiv:
 arXiv:2101.06132
 Bibcode:
 2021arXiv210106132B
 Keywords:

 Mathematics  Group Theory