Algebras and Representation Theory

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–33 | Cite as

Ghost Numbers of Group Algebras

  • J. Daniel Christensen
  • Gaohong Wang


Motivated by Freyd’s famous unsolved problem in stable homotopy theory, the generating hypothesis for the stable module category of a finite group is the statement that if a map in the thick subcategory generated by the trivial representation induces the zero map in Tate cohomology, then it is stably trivial. It is known that the generating hypothesis fails for most groups. Generalizing work done for p-groups, we define the ghost number of a group algebra, which is a natural number that measures the degree to which the generating hypothesis fails. We describe a close relationship between ghost numbers and Auslander-Reiten triangles, with many results stated for a general projective class in a general triangulated category. We then compute ghost numbers and bounds on ghost numbers for many families of p-groups, including abelian p-groups, the quaternion group and dihedral 2-groups, and also give a general lower bound in terms of the radical length, the first general lower bound that we are aware of. We conclude with a classification of group algebras of p-groups with small ghost number and examples of gaps in the possible ghost numbers of such group algebras.


Tate cohomology Stable module category p-group Generating hypothesis Ghost map 

Mathematics Subject Classifications (2010)

Primary 20C20 Secondary 16G70 18E30 20J06 55P99 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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