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Abstract commensurators of profinite groups

By Yiftach Barnea, Mikhail Ershov and Thomas Weigel


Abstract. In this paper we initiate a systematic study of the abstract commensurators of profinite groups. The abstract commensurator of a profinite group G is a group Comm(G) which depends only on the commensurability class of G. We study various properties of Comm(G); in particular, we find two natural ways to turn it into a topological group. We also use Comm(G) to study topological groups which contain G as an open subgroup (all such groups are totally disconnected and locally compact). For instance, we construct a topologically simple group which contains the pro-2 completion of the Grigorchuk group as an open subgroup. On the other hand, we show that some profinite groups cannot be embedded as open subgroups of compactly generated topologically simple groups. Several celebrated rigidity theorems, like Pink’s analogue of Mostow’s strong rigidity theorem for simple algebraic groups defined over local fields and the Neukirch-Uchida theorem, can be reformulated as structure theorems for the commensurators of certain profinite groups. 1

Year: 2012
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