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Concept# Hilbert's fifth problem

Summary

Hilbert's fifth problem is the fifth mathematical problem from the problem list publicized in 1900 by mathematician David Hilbert, and concerns the characterization of Lie groups.
The theory of Lie groups describes continuous symmetry in mathematics; its importance there and in theoretical physics (for example quark theory) grew steadily in the twentieth century. In rough terms, Lie group theory is the common ground of group theory and the theory of topological manifolds. The question Hilbert asked was an acute one of making this precise: is there any difference if a restriction to smooth manifolds is imposed?
The expected answer was in the negative (the classical groups, the most central examples in Lie group theory, are smooth manifolds). This was eventually confirmed in the early 1950s. Since the precise notion of "manifold" was not available to Hilbert, there is room for some debate about the formulation of the problem in contemporary mathematical language.
A modern formulation of the problem (in its simplest interpretation) is as follows:
An equivalent formulation of this problem closer to that of Hilbert, in terms of composition laws, goes as follows:
In this form the problem was solved by Montgomery–Zippin and Gleason.
A stronger interpretation (viewing as a transformation group rather than an abstract group) results in the Hilbert–Smith conjecture about group actions on manifolds, which in full generality is still open. It is known classically for actions on 2-dimensional manifolds and has recently been solved for three dimensions by John Pardon.
The first major result was that of John von Neumann in 1933,giving an affirmative answer for compact groups. The locally compact abelian group case was solved in 1934 by Lev Pontryagin. The final resolution, at least in the interpretation of what Hilbert meant given above, came with the work of Andrew Gleason, Deane Montgomery and Leo Zippin in the 1950s.

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Locally compact group

In mathematics, a locally compact group is a topological group G for which the underlying topology is locally compact and Hausdorff. Locally compact groups are important because many examples of groups that arise throughout mathematics are locally compact and such groups have a natural measure called the Haar measure. This allows one to define integrals of Borel measurable functions on G so that standard analysis notions such as the Fourier transform and spaces can be generalized.

Compact group

In mathematics, a compact (topological) group is a topological group whose topology realizes it as a compact topological space (when an element of the group is operated on, the result is also within the group). Compact groups are a natural generalization of finite groups with the discrete topology and have properties that carry over in significant fashion. Compact groups have a well-understood theory, in relation to group actions and representation theory. In the following we will assume all groups are Hausdorff spaces.

Haar measure

In mathematical analysis, the Haar measure assigns an "invariant volume" to subsets of locally compact topological groups, consequently defining an integral for functions on those groups. This measure was introduced by Alfréd Haar in 1933, though its special case for Lie groups had been introduced by Adolf Hurwitz in 1897 under the name "invariant integral". Haar measures are used in many parts of analysis, number theory, group theory, representation theory, statistics, probability theory, and ergodic theory.

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