# Thread: Determining if a group

1. ## Determining if a group

Hi there,
I'm doing some revision for my exam and I cannot see how this one particular solution has come about. The question is:

Is $(G, *)$ a semigroup, or group in the following?
(a) $G = \mathbb{R} \$\ $\{\frac{1}{2}\}$, $a * b = a - 2ab +b$

I have solved a lot of questions like this, so I know its a group because i have been able to show that it has an identity and inverse, and i have the solutions to this problem so i have seen the associative property proved, but that is where I am getting stuck

The solution I have says (I'll number each line)....
(1) $(a * b) * c = (a - 2ab + b) * c$
(2) $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ = (a - 2ab + b) - 2(a - 2ab + b)c + c$
(3) $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ = a + b + c - 2ab - 2ac - 2bc + 4abc$
(4) $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ = a - 2a(b - 2bc + c) + (b - 2bc + c)$
(5) $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ = a * (b - 2bc + c)$
(6) $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ = a * (b * c)$

Now normally what I like to do when looking to see if a particular operation is associative is do steps (1), (2), (3), and then do (6), (5), (4), (3) and see if i get the same result for (3) both times. However in this case I cannot see how (2) was obtained from (1). Initially I thought that step 2 would be:
$= (a - 2ab + b) + c - 2c$. I cannot see why (2) is $\ \ \ \ \ \ \ = (a - 2ab + b) - 2(a - 2ab + b)c + c$. Can anyone please explain why this is the case?
Thanks in advance to those who can help.
Cheers,
Maccaman

2. To easy confision let us write multiplication as $x * y = x - 2xy +y$. So when going from line 1 to line 2 we have that $x=a*b, y=c$. $a * b = a - 2ab +b$, and the result follows.

The $a$ and $b$ in the definition of multiplication and associativity are just arbitrary elements from the group.

3. I see. I must have been tired or something to miss that. Thanks very much Swlabr. You