# Why do we care about simple groups rather than indecomposable groups?

A first thing that we do to analyze something is "divide and conqur." So it is natural to consider simple groups. In the same way, it appears to be natural to consider indecomposable groups. However, no one taught me about indecomposable groups and I know it quite recently.

Of course, indecomposable groups is larger class than simple groups. Having said that, it doesn't answer my question fully because a lager concept is sometimes easier to deal with (for example, $\mathbb{Z} \subseteq \mathbb{R}$).

Is there any reason that we care about simple groups rather than indecomposable groups?

Added: From the comment to DustanLevenstein — For example, in module theory, indecomposable modules looks be treated equal with simple modules. importance of indecomposable modules and simple modules seems be at the same level. What's the difference between these?

• Classifying all finite indecomposable groups is equivalent to classifying all finite groups (because the "extension problem" for indecomposable groups becomes rendered trivial, by definition). The fact that we have successfully classified finite simple groups but not all finite groups should give an indication that the latter is a much more difficult problem, even given the former. That's not really an answer to your question, just something that I hope will help catalyse your thoughts on this. Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 14:41
• @DustanLevenstein Thank you for your comment. If motivation to consider (finite) simple groups is to consider (finite) groups, then isn't it natural to consider indecomposable groups since its extension problem is trivial? Besides, even if classifying those completely is hard, investigating some properties of indecomposable groups doesn't help to solve some problems? For example, in module theory, indecomposable modules looks be treated equal with simple modules. What's the difference between these?
– Orat
Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 5:44
• @Taro Have you read this old question? It doesn't tell you "why not indecomposable groups", but rather tells you "why simple groups". However, the underlying reason for looking at simple groups (the Jordan-Hölder theorem, which is what the linked question is about) doesn't work for indecomposable groups. Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:28
• @user1729 Thank you for pointing out about the question. At least for Jordan-Holder theorem, there is a similar one: Krull-Remak-Schmidt theorem.
– Orat
Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:32
• @Taro Ah, thank you. My comment was supposed to end with a "...so far as I know." Thanks for pointing that out! Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:34