Covering the alternating groups by products of cycle classes

Marcel Herzog*, Gil Kaplan, Arieh Lev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given integers k, l ≥ 2, where either l is odd or k is even, we denote by n = n (k, l) the largest integer such that each element of An is a product of k cycles of length l. For an odd l, k is the diameter of the undirected Cayley graph Cay (An, Cl), where Cl is the set of all l-cycles in An. We prove that if k ≥ 2 and l ≥ 9 is odd and divisible by 3, then frac(2, 3) k l ≤ n (k, l) ≤ frac(2, 3) k l + 1. This extends earlier results by Bertram [E. Bertram, Even permutations as a product of two conjugate cycles, J. Combin. Theory 12 (1972) 368-380] and Bertram and Herzog [E. Bertram, M. Herzog, Powers of cycle-classes in symmetric groups, J. Combin. Theory Ser. A 94 (2001) 87-99].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1245
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Combinatorial Theory - Series A
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Alternating groups
  • Covering number
  • Products of cycles


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