Abstract:
We consider the question of which right-angled Artin groups contain closed hyperbolic surface subgroups. It is known that a right-angled Artin group $A(K)$ has such a subgroup if its defining graph $K$ contains an $n$-hole (i.e. an induced cycle of length $n$) with $n\geq 5$. We construct another eight "forbidden" graphs and show that every graph $K$ on $\le 8$ vertices either contains one of our examples, or contains a hole of length $\ge 5$, or has the property that $A(K)$ does not contain hyperbolic closed surface subgroups. We also provide several sufficient conditions for a \RAAG to contain no hyperbolic surface subgroups. We prove that for one of these "forbidden" subgraphs $P_2(6)$, the right angled Artin group $A(P_2(6))$ is a subgroup of a (right angled Artin) diagram group. Thus we show that a diagram group can contain a non-free hyperbolic subgroup answering a question of Guba and Sapir. We also show that fundamental groups of non-orientable surfaces can be subgroups of diagram groups. Thus the first integral homology of a subgroup of a diagram group can have torsion (all homology groups of all diagram groups are free Abelian by a result of Guba and Sapir).

Abstract:
For each natural number $d$ we construct a $3$-generated group $H_d$, which is a subdirect product of free groups, such that the cohomological dimension of $H_d$ is $d$. Given a group $F$ and a normal subgroup $N \lhd F$ we prove that any right angled Artin group containing the special HNN-extension of $F$ with respect to $N$ must also contain $F/N$. We apply this to construct, for every $d \in \mathbb{N}$, a $4$-generated group $G_d$, embeddable into a right angled Artin group, such that the cohomological dimension of $G_d$ is $2$ but the cohomological dimension of any right angled Artin group, containing $G_d$, is at least $d$. These examples are used to show the non-existence of certain "universal" right angled Artin groups. We also investigate finitely presented subgroups of direct products of limit groups. In particular we show that for every $n\in \mathbb{N}$ there exists $\delta(n) \in \mathbb{N}$ such that any $n$-generated finitely presented subgroup of a direct product of finitely many free groups embeds into the $\delta(n)$-th direct power of the free group of rank $2$. As another corollary we derive that any $n$-generated finitely presented residually free group embeds into the direct product of at most $\delta(n)$ limit groups.

Abstract:
We prove that finitely generated purely loxodromic subgroups of a right-angled Artin group $A(\Gamma)$ fulfill equivalent conditions that parallel characterizations of convex cocompactness in mapping class groups $\text{Mod}(S)$. In particular, such subgroups are quasiconvex in $A(\Gamma)$. In addition, we identify a milder condition for a finitely generated subgroup of $A(\Gamma)$ that guarantees it is free, undistorted, and retains finite generation when intersected with $A(\Lambda)$ for subgraphs $\Lambda$ of $\Gamma$. These results have applications to both the study of convex cocompactness in $\text{Mod}(S)$ and the way in which certain groups can embed in right-angled Artin groups.

Abstract:
We prove that the conjugacy problem in right-angled Artin groups (RAAGs), as well as in a large and natural class of subgroups of RAAGs, can be solved in linear-time. This class of subgroups contains, for instance, all graph braid groups (i.e. fundamental groups of configuration spaces of points in graphs), many hyperbolic groups, and it coincides with the class of fundamental groups of ``special cube complexes'' studied independently by Haglund and Wise.

Abstract:
We prove that an arbitrary right-angled Artin group $G$ admits a quasi-isometric group embedding into a right-angled Artin group defined by the opposite graph of a tree. Consequently, $G$ admits quasi-isometric group embeddings into a pure braid group and into the area-preserving diffeomorphism groups of the 2--disk and the 2--sphere, answering questions due to Crisp--Wiest and M. Kapovich. Another corollary is that a pure braid group contains a closed hyperbolic manifold group as a quasi-isometrically embedded subgroup up to dimension eight. Finally, we show that the isomorphism problem, conjugacy problem, and membership problems are unsolvable in the class of finitely presented subgroups of braid groups.

Abstract:
We study the class N of graphs, the right-angled Artin groups defined on which do not contain surface subgroups. We prove that a presumably smaller class N' is closed under amalgamating along complete subgraphs, and also under adding bisimplicial edges. It follows that chordal graphs and chordal bipartite graphs belong to N'.

Abstract:
For any right-angled Artin group, we show that its outer automorphism group contains either a finite-index nilpotent subgroup or a nonabelian free subgroup. This is a weak Tits alternative theorem. We find a criterion on the defining graph that determines which case holds. We also consider some examples of solvable subgroups, including one that is not virtually nilpotent and is embedded in a non-obvious way.

Abstract:
There exist right angled Artin groups $A$ such that the isomorphism problem for finitely presented subgroups of $A$ is unsolvable, and for certain finitely presented subgroups the conjugacy and membership problems are unsolvable. It follows that if $S$ is a surface of finite type and the genus of $S$ is sufficiently large, then the corresponding decision problems for the mapping class group $Mod(S)$ are unsolvable. Every virtually special group embeds in the mapping class group of infinitely many closed surfaces. Examples are given of finitely presented subgroups of mapping class groups that have infinitely many conjugacy classes of torsion elements.

Abstract:
We introduce the class of perturbed right-angled Artin groups. These are constructed by gluing Bieri double groups into standard right-angled Artin groups. As a first application of this construction we obtain families of CAT(0) groups containing finitely presented subgroups which are not of type $\mathrm{FP}_3$, and have exponential, or polynomial Dehn functions of prescribed degree.

Abstract:
Consider the mapping class group $\Mod_{g,p}$ of a surface $\Sigma_{g,p}$ of genus $g$ with $p$ punctures, and a finite collection $\{f_1,...,f_k\}$ of mapping classes, each of which is either a Dehn twist about a simple closed curve or a pseudo-Anosov homeomorphism supported on a connected subsurface. In this paper we prove that for all sufficiently large $N$, the mapping classes $\{f_1^N,...,f_k^N\}$ generate a right-angled Artin group. The right-angled Artin group which they generate can be determined from the combinatorial topology of the mapping classes themselves. When $\{f_1,...,f_k\}$ are arbitrary mapping classes, we show that sufficiently large powers of these mapping classes generate a group which embeds in a right-angled Artin group in a controlled way. We establish some analogous results for real and complex hyperbolic manifolds. We also discuss the unsolvability of the isomorphism problem for finitely generated subgroups of $\Mod_{g,p}$, and prove that the isomorphism problem for right-angled Artin groups is solvable. We thus characterize the isomorphism type of many naturally occurring subgroups of $\Mod_{g,p}$.