# Dixon's theorem

## Statement

Let $S_n$ denote the symmetric group of degree $n$, and $A_n$ denote the subgroup that is the alternating group. Pick two elements independently of each other, both uniformly at random, from $S_n$. Denote by $f_1(n)$ the probability that they generate all of $S_n$, and by $f_2(n)$ the probability that they generate $A_n$.

Then: $\lim_{n \to \infty} f_1(n) = \frac{3}{4}$

and: $\lim_{n \to \infty} f_2(n) = \frac{1}{4}$

Thus: $\lim_{n \to \infty} f_1(n) + f_2(n) = 1$

Another way of putting this is as follows:

• Define by $g_1(n)$ the probability that two permutations generate the whole group conditional to the elements not both being even permutations. Then, clearly $f_1(n) = (3/4)g_1(n)$. The first part of Dixon's theorem states that $\lim_{n \to \infty} g_1(n) = 1$.
• Define by $g_2(n)$ the probability that two permutations generate the whole group conditional to the elements both being even permutations. Then, clearly $f_2(n) = (1/4)g_2(n)$. The second part of Dixon's theorem states that $\lim_{n \to \infty} g_2(n) = 1$.