, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 533-552

New results for the minimum weight triangulation problem

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Given a finite set of points in a plane, a triangulation is a maximal set of nonintersecting line segments connecting the points. The weight of a triangulation is the sum of the Euclidean lengths of its line segments. No polynomial-time algorithm is known to find a triangulation of minimum weight, nor is the minimum weight triangulation problem known to be NP-hard. This paper proposes a new heuristic algorithm that triangulates a set ofn points inO(n 3) time and that never produces a triangulation whose weight is greater than that of a greedy triangulation. The algorithm produces an optimal triangulation if the points are the vertices of a convex polygon. Experimental results indicate that this algorithm rarely produces a nonoptimal triangulation and performs much better than a seemingly similar heuristic of Lingas. In the direction of showing the minimum weight triangulation problem is NP-hard, two generalizations that are quite close to the minimum weight triangulation problem are shown to be NP-hard.

This research was done while the second author was with the Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Communicated by D. T. Lee.