Small partial Latin squares that embed in an infinite group but not into any finite group
Suppose that Y1,Y2,Y3 are finite sets and
P⊆ Y1× Y2× Y3. We say that P embeds in a group
G if there exist injective maps φi: Yi→ G for i=1,2,3
such that φ1(y1)φ2(y2)=φ3(y3) for each
(y1,y2,y3) in P.
Hirsch and Jackson asked for the cardinality of the
smallest P that embeds in some infinite group but not into any
finite group. We prove that the answer to their question is 12.
Moreover, we show that there are 50 examples of cardinality 12, up to
each of them embeds in the (infinite) Baumslag group G=⟨ a,b |
b=[b,ba]⟩. Our proof uses computations to answer
questions about finitely presented groups which are known to be
algorithmically undecidable in general.