Congruence Subgroup

In mathematics, a congruence subgroup of a matrix group with integer entries is a subgroup defined by congruence conditions on the entries. A very simple example would be invertible 2x2 integer matrices of determinant 1, such that the off-diagonal entries are even.

An important class of congruence subgroups is given by reduction of the ring of entries: in general given a group such as the special linear group SL(n, Z) we can reduce the entries to modular arithmetic in Z/NZ for any N >1, which gives a homomorphism

SL(n, Z) → SL(n, Z/N·Z)

of groups. The kernel of this reduction map is an example of a congruence subgroup – the condition is that the diagonal entries are congruent to 1 mod N, and the off-diagonal entries be congruent to 0 mod N (divisible by N), and is known as a principal congruence subgroup, Γ(N). Formally a congruence subgroup is one that contains Γ(N) for some N, and the least such N is the level or Stufe of the subgroup.

In the case n=2 we are talking then about a subgroup of the modular group (up to the quotient by {I,-I} taking us to the corresponding projective group): the kernel of reduction is called Γ(N) and plays a big role in the theory of modular forms. Further, we may take the inverse image of any subgroup (not just {e}) and get a congruence subgroup: the subgroups Γ0(N) important in modular form theory are defined in this way, from the subgroup of mod N 2x2 matrices with 1 on the diagonal and 0 below it.

More generally, the notion of congruence subgroup can be defined for arithmetic subgroups of algebraic groups; that is, those for which we have a notion of 'integral structure' respected by the subgroup, and so some general idea of what 'congruence' means.

Read more about Congruence Subgroup:  Congruence Subgroups and Topological Groups, Congruence Subgroups of The Modular Group

Famous quotes containing the word congruence:

    As for butterflies, I can hardly conceive
    of one’s attending upon you; but to question
    the congruence of the complement is vain, if it exists.
    Marianne Moore (1887–1972)