A correspondence between balanced varieties and inverse monoids

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There is a well-known correspondence between varieties of algebras and fully invariant congruences on the appropriate term algebra. A special class of varieties are those which are balanced, meaning they can be described by equations in which the same variables appear on each side. In this paper, we prove that the above correspondence, restricted to balanced varieties, leads to a correspondence between balanced varieties and inverse monoids. In the case of unary algebras, we recover the theorem of Meakin and Sapir that establishes a bijection between congruences on the free monoid with n generators and wide, positively self-conjugate inverse submonoids of the polycyclic monoid on n generators. In the case of varieties generated by linear equations, meaning those equations where each variable occurs exactly once on each side, we can replace the clause monoid above by the linear clause monoid. In the case of algebras with a single operation of arity n, we prove that the linear clause monoid is isomorphic to the inverse monoid of right ideal isomorphisms between the finitely generated essential right ideals of the free monoid on n letters, a monoid previously studied by Birget in the course of work on the Thompson group V and its analogues. We show that Dehornoy's geometry monoid of a balanced variety is a special kind of inverse submonoid of ours. Finally, we construct groups from the inverse monoids associated with a balanced variety and examine some conditions under which they still reflect the structure of the underlying variety. Both free groups and Thompson's groups Vn,1 arise in this way. © World Scientific Publishing Company.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-924
Number of pages38
JournalInternational Journal of Algebra and Computation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Balanced equations
  • Group
  • Inverse semigroup
  • Linear equations
  • Thompson groups
  • Variety of algebras


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