, Volume 8, Issue 1-6, pp 365-389

Simultaneous inner and outer approximation of shapes

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For compact Euclidean bodiesP, Q, we define λ(P, Q) to be the smallest ratior/s wherer > 0,s > 0 satisfy \(sQ' \subseteq P \subseteq rQ''\) . HeresQ denotes a scaling ofQ by the factors, andQ′,Q″ are some translates ofQ. This function λ gives us a new distance function between bodies which, unlike previously studied measures, is invariant under affine transformations. If homothetic bodies are identified, the logarithm of this function is a metric. (Two bodies arehomothetic if one can be obtained from the other by scaling and translation.)

For integerk ≥ 3, define λ(k) to be the minimum value such that for each convex polygonP there exists a convexk-gonQ with λ(P, Q) ≤ λ(k). Among other results, we prove that 2.118 ... <-λ(3) ≤ 2.25 and λ(k) = 1 + Θ(k −2). We give anO(n 2 log2 n)-time algorithm which, for any input convexn-gonP, finds a triangleT that minimizes λ(T, P) among triangles. However, in linear time we can find a trianglet with λ(t, P)<-2.25.

Our study is motivated by the attempt to reduce the complexity of the polygon containment problem, and also the motion-planning problem. In each case we describe algorithms which run faster when certain implicitslackness parameters of the input are bounded away from 1. These algorithms illustrate a new algorithmic paradigm in computational geometry for coping with complexity.

Work of all authors was partially supported by the ESPRIT II Basic Research Actions Program of the EC under Contract No. 3075 (project ALCOM). Rudolf Fleischer and Kurt Mehlhorn acknowledge also DFG (Grant SPP Me 620/6). Chee Yap acknowledges also DFG (Grant Be 142/46-1) and NSF (Grants DCR-84-01898 and CCR-87-03458). This research was performed when Günter Rote and Chee Yap were at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Communicated by Mikhail J. Atallah.