Thus, prominent structures in group theory, near-rings, and designs are closely linked. However, historically these areas evolved independently and a general overview is therefore missing.
In the previous years, the relevant topics have been studied at Tainan (Taiwan), Hamburg, and Linz from different points of view. In this project (a joint project with the Taiwanese National Science Council), the respective research groups will cooperate closely. A computer algebra system (``SONATA'') based on GAP and developed at Linz will provide means to study examples of the particular mathematical objects on a computer.
At Linz, we plan to investigate the connections between near-rings, Frobenius groups and designs. Our goal is to reduce the properties of these seemingly distinct algebraic structures to one underlying concept, namely that of Frobenius groups, or, equivalently, to that of fixed-point-free automorphism groups.
This new approach is not only meant to put the results of the respective research areas into relation. It will also provide us with a setting to efficiently attack concrete open problems in the particular fields (Section 2.2):