Rewriting techniques have been applied successfully to various areas of symbolic computation. Here we consider the notion of prefix-rewriting and give a survey on its applications to the subgroup problem in combinatorial group theory. We will see that for certain classes of finitely presented groups finitely generated subgroups can be described through convergent prefix-rewriting systems, which can be obtained from a presentation of the group considered and a set of generators for the subgroup through a specialized Knuth-Bendix style completion procedure. In many instances a finite presentation for the subgroup considered can be constructed from such a convergent prefix-rewriting system, thus solving the subgroup presentation problem. Finally we will see that the classical procedures for computing Nielsen reduced sets of generators for a finitely generated subgroup of a free group and the Todd-Coxeter coset enumeration can be interpreted as particular instances of prefix-completion. Further, both procedures are closely related to the computation of prefix Gr"obner bases for right ideals in free group rings.
Todd and Coxeter's method for enumerating cosets of finitely generated subgroups in finitely presented groups (abbreviated by Tc here) is one famous method from combinatorial group theory for studying the subgroup problem. Since prefix string rewriting is also an appropriate method to study this problem, prefix string rewriting methods have been compared to Tc. We recall and compare two of them briefly, one by Kuhn and Madlener  and one by Sims . A new approach using prefix string rewriting in free groups is derived from the algebraic method presented by Reinert, Mora and Madlener in  which directly emulates Tc. It is extended to free monoids and an algebraic characterization for the "cosets" enumerated in this setting is provided.