Conjugacy in Garside Groups III: Periodic braids

Research paper by Joan S. Birman, Volker Gebhardt, Juan Gonzalez-Meneses

Indexed on: 22 Feb '07Published on: 22 Feb '07Published in: Mathematics - Geometric Topology


An element in Artin's braid group B_n is said to be periodic if some power of it lies in the center of B_n. In this paper we prove that all previously known algorithms for solving the conjugacy search problem in B_n are exponential in the braid index n for the special case of periodic braids. We overcome this difficulty by putting to work several known isomorphisms between Garside structures in the braid group B_n and other Garside groups. This allows us to obtain a polynomial solution to the original problem in the spirit of the previously known algorithms. This paper is the third in a series of papers by the same authors about the conjugacy problem in Garside groups. They have a unified goal: the development of a polynomial algorithm for the conjugacy decision and search problems in B_n, which generalizes to other Garside groups whenever possible. It is our hope that the methods introduced here will allow the generalization of the results in this paper to all Artin-Tits groups of spherical type.