Abstract
In this thesis, we study three problems. First, we determine new bounds for base sizes b(G,Ω) of primitive subspace actions of finite almost simple classical groups G. Such base sizes are useful statistics in computational group theory. We show that if the underlying set Ω consists of kdimensional subspaces of the natural module V = F_q^n for G, then b(G,Ω) ≥ ⌈n/k⌉ + c, where c ∈ {2,1,0,1} depends on n, q, k and the type of G. If instead Ω consists of pairs {X,Y} of subspaces of V with k:=dim(X) < dim(Y), and G is generated by PGL(n,q) and the graph automorphism of PSL(n,q), then b(G,Ω) ≤ max{⌈n/k⌉,4}.The second part of the thesis concerns the intersection graph Δ_{G} of a finite simple group G. This graph has vertices the nontrivial proper subgroups of G, and its edges are the pairs of subgroups that intersect nontrivially. We prove that Δ_{G} has diameter at most 5, and that a diameter of 5 is achieved only by the graphs of the baby monster group and certain unitary groups of odd prime dimension. This answers a question posed by Shen.
Finally, we study the noncommuting, nongenerating graph Ξ(G) of a group G, where G/Z(G) is either finite or nonsimple. This graph is closely related to the hierarchy of graphs introduced by Cameron. The graph's vertices are the noncentral elements of G, and its edges are the pairs {x,y} such that ⟨x, y⟩ ≠ G and xy ≠ yx. We show that if Ξ(G) has an edge, then either the graph is connected with diameter at most 5; the graph has exactly two connected components, each of diameter 2; or the graph consists of isolated vertices and a component of diameter at most 4. In this last case, either the nontrivial component has diameter 2, or G/Z(G) is a nonsimple insoluble primitive group with every proper quotient cyclic.
Date of Award  29 Nov 2022 

Original language  English 
Awarding Institution 

Supervisor  Colva RoneyDougal (Supervisor) & Peter Jephson Cameron (Supervisor) 
Keywords
 Intersection graph
 Noncommuting, nongenerating graph
 Base size
 Primitive groups
 Subspace actions
 Finite simple groups
 Graphs defined on groups
Access Status
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