Saturday, July 10, 2004

Classification of Finite Simple Groups

This month's Notices has an interesting article by Michael Ashbacher on the state of the classification that was supposedly finished off in 1980. Surprisingly enough (or perhaps not so surprisingly), it turns out that there was still quite a bit of work left to do after all; a great deal of effort was put into simplifying the proof to a level requiring no more than an acquaintance with elementary graduate textbooks like Rotman's Introduction to the Theory of Groups, while increased scrutiny saw all sorts of gaps appear in the proof, some of which stubbornly refused to be closed until recently.

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