Some undecidable embedding problems for finite semigroups Academic Article uri icon


  • Let S be a finite semigroup, A be a given subset of S and L, R, H, D and J be Green's equivalence relations. The problem of determining whether there exists a supersemigroup T of S from the class of all semigroups or from the class of finite semigroups, such that A lies in an L or R-class of T has a simple and well known solution (see for example [7], [8] or [3]). The analogous problem for J or D relations is trivial if T is of arbitrary size, but undecidable if T is required to be finite [4] (even if we restrict ourselves to the case |A| = 2 [6]). We show that for the relation H, the corresponding problem is undecidable in both the class of finite semigroups (answering Problem 1 of [9]) and in the class of all semigroups, extending related results obtained by M. V. Sapir in [9]. An infinite semigroup with a subset never lying in a H-class of any embedding semigroup is known and, in [9], the existence of a finite semigroup with this property is established. We present two eight element examples of such semigroups as well as other examples satisfying related properties.

publication date

  • February 1999