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Analyzing Rubik's Cube with GAPThis is an updated GAP 4 version of a GAP 3 example by Martin SchÃ¶nert , 1993. An almost classical permutation group of small degree is examined with some elementary GAP commands. The output given here has been produced by GAP 4, the input is available in form of a plain GAP 4 input file.
Ideal Toy Company stated on the package of We consider the group of transformations of Rubik's magic cube. If we number the faces of this cube as follows ++    1 2 3     4 top 5     6 7 8    +++++       9 10 11  17 18 19  25 26 27  33 34 35        12 left 13  20 front 21  28 right 29  36 rear 37        14 15 16  22 23 24  30 31 32  38 39 40       +++++    41 42 43     44 bottom 45     46 47 48    ++ then the group is generated by the following generators, corresponding to the six faces of the cube. gap> cube := Group( > ( 1, 3, 8, 6)( 2, 5, 7, 4)( 9,33,25,17)(10,34,26,18)(11,35,27,19), > ( 9,11,16,14)(10,13,15,12)( 1,17,41,40)( 4,20,44,37)( 6,22,46,35), > (17,19,24,22)(18,21,23,20)( 6,25,43,16)( 7,28,42,13)( 8,30,41,11), > (25,27,32,30)(26,29,31,28)( 3,38,43,19)( 5,36,45,21)( 8,33,48,24), > (33,35,40,38)(34,37,39,36)( 3, 9,46,32)( 2,12,47,29)( 1,14,48,27), > (41,43,48,46)(42,45,47,44)(14,22,30,38)(15,23,31,39)(16,24,32,40) ); <permutation group with 6 generators> First we want to know the size of this group. gap> Size( cube ); 43252003274489856000 Since this is a little bit unhandy, let us factorize this number. gap> Collected( Factors( last ) ); [ [ 2, 27 ], [ 3, 14 ], [ 5, 3 ], [ 7, 2 ], [ 11, 1 ] ]
(The result tells us that the size is 2^27 3^14 5^3 7^2 11.)
gap> SizeScreen( [71, ] );; gap> orbits := Orbits( cube, [1..48] ); [ [ 1, 3, 17, 14, 8, 38, 9, 41, 19, 48, 22, 6, 30, 33, 43, 11, 46, 40, 24, 27, 25, 35, 16, 32 ], [ 2, 5, 12, 7, 36, 10, 47, 4, 28, 45, 34, 13, 29, 44, 20, 42, 26, 21, 37, 15, 31, 18, 23, 39 ] ]
The first orbit contains the points at the corners, the second those at the
edges; clearly the group cannot move a point at a corner onto a point at an
edge.
gap> cube1 := Action( cube, orbits[1] ); <permutation group with 6 generators> gap> NrMovedPoints( cube1 ); 24 gap> Size( cube1 ); 88179840 Now this group obviously operates transitively, but let us test whether it is also primitive. gap> corners := Blocks( cube1, MovedPoints( cube1 ) ); [ [ 1, 7, 22 ], [ 2, 14, 20 ], [ 3, 12, 16 ], [ 4, 17, 18 ], [ 5, 9, 21 ], [ 6, 10, 24 ], [ 8, 11, 23 ], [ 13, 15, 19 ] ]
Those eight blocks correspond to the eight corners of the cube; on the
one hand the group permutes those and on the other hand it permutes the
three points at each corner cyclically.
gap> blockhom1 := ActionHomomorphism( cube1, corners, OnSets ); <action homomorphism> gap> cube1b := Image( blockhom1 ); Group([ (1,2,4,3), (1,3,6,5), (1,5,8,2), (3,4,7,6), (5,6,7,8), (2,8,7,4) ]) gap> Size( cube1b ); 40320
Now a permutation group of degree 8 that has order 40320 must be the full
symmetric group S(8) on eight points.
gap> Factors( Size( Kernel( blockhom1 ) ) ); [ 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 ] gap> IsElementaryAbelian( Kernel( blockhom1 ) ); true
We can show that the product of this elementary abelian group 3^7 with the
S(8) is semidirect by finding a complement, i.e., a subgroup that has trivial
intersection with the kernel and that generates gap> cmpl1 := Complementclasses( cube1, Kernel( blockhom1 ) ); [ Group([ (1,3,4,2)(7,16,17,14)(12,18,20,22), (1,2,3,4,5,6,13)(7,14,16,17,21,10,15)(9,24,19,22,20,12,18), (1,2,3,4,5,8,13)(7,14,16,17,21,23,15)(9,11,19,22,20,12,18) ]) ] gap> cmpl1 := cmpl1[1];; gap> Size( cmpl1 ); 40320 We verify the complement properties: gap> Size( Intersection( cmpl1, Kernel( blockhom1 ) ) ); 1 gap> ClosureGroup( cmpl1, Kernel( blockhom1 ) ) = cube1; true
There is even a more elegant way to show that gap> IsBijective( RestrictedMapping( blockhom1, cmpl1 ) ); true
Of course, theoretically it is clear that gap> (1,7,22) in cube1; false gap> (1,7,22)(2,20,14) in cube1; true More or less the same things happen when we consider the operation of the cube group on the edges. gap> cube2 := Action( cube, orbits[2] );; gap> Size( cube2 ); 980995276800 gap> edges := Blocks( cube2, MovedPoints( cube2 ) ); [ [ 1, 11 ], [ 2, 17 ], [ 3, 19 ], [ 4, 22 ], [ 5, 13 ], [ 6, 8 ], [ 7, 24 ], [ 9, 18 ], [ 10, 21 ], [ 12, 15 ], [ 14, 20 ], [ 16, 23 ] ] gap> blockhom2 := ActionHomomorphism( cube2, edges, OnSets );; gap> cube2b := Image( blockhom2 );; gap> Size( cube2b ); 479001600 gap> Factors( Size( Kernel( blockhom2 ) ) ); [ 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 ] gap> IsElementaryAbelian( Kernel( blockhom2 ) ); true gap> cmpl2 := Complementclasses( cube2, Kernel( blockhom2 ) );; gap> Length( cmpl2 ); 4 So there are even 4 classes of complements here. This time we get a semidirect product of a 2^11 with an S(12), namely a subgroup of index 2 of the wreath product of a cyclic 2 with S(12). Here the missing index 2 tells us again that we do not have total freedom in turning the edges. The following tests show that whenever we flip one edge we must also flip another edge. gap> (1,11) in cube2; false gap> (1,11)(2,17) in cube2; true
Since gap> Size( cube ); 43252003274489856000 gap> Size( cube1 ) * Size( cube2 ); 86504006548979712000 This final missing index 2 tells us that we cannot operate on corners and edges totally independently. The following tests show that whenever we exchange a pair of corners we must also exchange a pair of edges (and vice versa). gap> (17,19)(11,8)(6,25) in cube; false gap> (7,28)(18,21) in cube; false gap> (17,19)(11,8)(6,25)(7,28)(18,21) in cube; true As a last part of the structure analysis of the cube group let us compute the centre of the cube group, i.e., the subgroup of those operations that can be performed either before or after any other operation with the same result. gap> z := Centre( cube ); Group( [ (2,34)(4,10)(5,26)(7,18)(12,37)(13,20)(15,44)(21,28)(23,42)(29, 36)(31,45)(39,47) ])
We see that the centre contains one nontrivial element, namely the
operation that flips all 12 edges simultaneously.
gap> f := FreeGroup("t","l","f","r","e","b"); <free group on the generators [ t, l, f, r, e, b ]> gap> hom := GroupHomomorphismByImages( f, cube, GeneratorsOfGroup(f), > GeneratorsOfGroup(cube) ); [ t, l, f, r, e, b ] > [ (1,3,8,6)(2,5,7,4)(9,33,25,17)(10,34,26,18)(11,35,27,19), (1,17,41,40)(4,20,44,37)(6,22,46,35)(9,11,16,14)(10,13,15,12), (6,25,43,16)(7,28,42,13)(8,30,41,11)(17,19,24,22)(18,21,23,20), (3,38,43,19)(5,36,45,21)(8,33,48,24)(25,27,32,30)(26,29,31,28), (1,14,48,27)(2,12,47,29)(3,9,46,32)(33,35,40,38)(34,37,39,36), (14,22,30,38)(15,23,31,39)(16,24,32,40)(41,43,48,46)(42,45,47,44) ]
Using this homomorphism, we can now decompose elements into generators. The
method used utilizes a stabilizer chain and does not enumerate all group
elements, therefore the words obtained are not the shortest possible,
though they are short enough for hand solutions.
gap> PreImagesRepresentative( hom, z.1 ); l^1*t^1*e^1*t^2*e*l*f*r*t^1*r^1*f^1*t*f*r*t*r^1*t^1*f^1*t^ 1*f*t*l*t*l^1*f^1*l*t^1*l^1*f*r*t^1*r^1*f^1*l*t*f*t^1*f^ 1*l^1*t*f^1*l^1*t^1*l*t*f*t^2*f*t*f^1*t^1*l^1*t^1*l*t^1*l^ 1*t*e^1*t*e*l*t*l*t*e*l^1*e^1*t^1*l^3*b*f*b^1*l^1*f^1*t*l^ 1*f*t*f*l^1*t^1*b*r^1*b^1*t^2*e^1*r*e*r*f^1*e*t^1*e^1*r^ 2*t^2*l^1*b^1*r^1*e^1 gap> Length( last ); 106 Next we decompose some element arbitrarily chosen by us: gap> PreImagesRepresentative( hom, (17,19)(11,8)(6,25)(7,28)(18,21) ); l^1*t^1*l*f*r*t*r^1*f^1*l*t*f*t^1*f^1*l^1*t^2*f*t*l*t*l^1*f^ 1*l*t^1*l^1*f*t^1*f^1*l*t*l^1*t*l*t^2*l^1*f*t*r*t^1*r^ 1*t*r*t^1*r^1*f^1*t*l*f^1*l^1*f*l^1*t^1*l*t^2*f*t*f^1*l^ 1*f^1*l^2*f*l*e^1*t*e*l*t^1*e^1*t^1*e*l*b*f^1*b^1 gap> Length( last ); 77 Last we let GAP choose a random element ... gap> r := Random( cube ); (1,43,6,27,32,46)(2,4,13,34,10,20)(3,38,40,9,24,17)(5,15,45,23,29,47, 26,44,31,42,36,39)(7,18)(8,22)(11,33,48,14,35,30)(12,21,37,28)(16, 19)(25,41) gap> pre := PreImagesRepresentative( hom, r ); e^1*r*f^1*t^1*r*l*e*b^1*e^1*t^1*b^1*e^1*b*l^1*f^1*l*f^ 1*l*t^1*f*b*f^2*b^1*t*f^1*l*f*l*t*l^1*t^2*l^1*f^1*l*f*l*f*t^ 1*f^1*l^1*t^1*l*t^2*l^1*t*l*f^1*l*f*l^1*t^2*l^1*t^1*l^ 1*e*l*e^1*t*l*t^3*l*t*f*t^1*f^2*l^1*f*t*f*t^1*f^2*l*f*l^1*t^ 1*l^1*t*l*t*f*r*t*r^1*t^1*f^1*t^1*l^1*t^1*e^1*t*e*l gap> Length( last ); 100 ... and we verify that the decomposition is correct: gap> Image( hom, pre ); (1,43,6,27,32,46)(2,4,13,34,10,20)(3,38,40,9,24,17)(5,15,45,23,29,47, 26,44,31,42,36,39)(7,18)(8,22)(11,33,48,14,35,30)(12,21,37,28)(16, 19)(25,41) gap> last = r; true This concludes our example. Of course, GAP can do much more, but demonstrating them all would take too much room. 
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