In mathematics, specifically group theory, a quotient group (or factor group) is a group obtained by identifying together elements of a larger group using an equivalence relation. For example, the cyclic group of addition modulo n can be obtained from the integers by identifying elements that differ by a multiple of n and defining a group structure that operates on each such class (known as a congruence class) as a single entity.
In a quotient of a group, the equivalence class of the identity element is always a normal subgroup of the original group, and the other equivalence classes are the cosets of this normal subgroup. The resulting quotient is written G / N, where G is the original group and N is the normal subgroup. (This is pronounced "G mod N," where "mod" is short for modulo.)
Much of the importance of quotient groups is derived from their relation to homomorphisms. The first isomorphism theorem states that the image of any group G under a homomorphism is always isomorphic to a quotient of G. Specifically, the image of G under a homomorphism φ: G → H is isomorphic to G / ker(φ) where ker(φ) denotes the kernel of φ.
The dual notion of a quotient group is a subgroup, these being the two primary ways of forming a smaller group from a larger one. Any normal subgroup has a corresponding quotient group, formed from the larger group by eliminating the distinction between elements of the subgroup. In category theory, quotient groups are examples of quotient objects, which are dual to subobjects. For other examples of quotient objects, see quotient ring, quotient space (linear algebra), quotient space (topology), and quotient set.
Famous quotes containing the word group:
“The government of the United States at present is a foster-child of the special interests. It is not allowed to have a voice of its own. It is told at every move, Dont do that, You will interfere with our prosperity. And when we ask: where is our prosperity lodged? a certain group of gentlemen say, With us.”
—Woodrow Wilson (18561924)