Invariable generation and the Houghton groups

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The Houghton groups $H_1, H_2, \ldots$ are a family of infinite groups. In 1975 Wiegold showed that $H_3$ was invariably generated (IG) but $H_1\le H_3$ was not. A natural question is then whether the groups $H_2, H_3, \ldots$ are all IG. Wiegold also ends by saying that, in the examples he had found of an IG group with a subgroup that is not IG, the subgroup was never of finite index. Another natural question is then whether there is a subgroup of finite index in $H_3$ that is not IG. In this note we prove, for each $n\in \{2, 3, \ldots\}$, that $H_n$ and all of its finite index subgroups are IG.

The independent work of Minasyan and Goffer-Lazarovich in June 2020 frames this note quite nicely: they showed that an IG group can have a finite index subgroup that is not IG.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-133
JournalJournal of Algebra
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2022


  • Invariable generation
  • Infinite groups
  • Houghton group
  • Permutation Groups


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