On the spread of infinite groups

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A group is $\frac32$-generated if every non-trivial element is part of a generating pair. In 2019, Donoven and Harper showed that many Thompson groups are $\frac32$-generated and posed five questions. The first of these is whether there exists a 2-generated group with every proper quotient cyclic that is not $\frac32$-generated. This is a natural question given the significant work in proving that no finite group has this property, but we show that there is such an infinite group. The groups we consider are a family of finite index subgroups of the Houghton group $\text{FSym}(\mathbb{Z})\rtimes\mathbb{Z}$. We then show that the first two groups in our family are $\frac32$-generated, and investigate the related notion of spread for these groups. We are able to show that they have finite spread which is greater than 2. These are therefore the first infinite groups to be shown to have finite positive spread, and the first to be shown to have spread greater than 2 (other than $\mathbb{Z}$ and the Tarski monsters, which have infinite spread).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-228
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022


  • math.GR
  • 20F05


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