Covering Segments with Unit Squares
We study several variations of line segment covering problem with axis-parallel unit squares in the plane. Given a set S of n line segments, the objective is to find the minimum number of axis-parallel unit squares which cover at least one end-point of each segment. The variations depend on the orientation and length of the input segments. We prove some of these problems to be NP-complete, and give constant factor approximation algorithms for those problems. For the general version of the problem, where the segments are of arbitrary length and orientation, and the squares are given as input, we propose a factor 16 approximation result based on multilevel linear programming relaxation technique. This technique may be of independent interest for solving some other problems. We also show that our problems have connections with the problems studied by Arkin et al.  on conflict-free covering problem. Our NP-completeness results hold for more simplified types of objects than those of Arkin et al. .
KeywordsSegment cover Unit square NP-hardness Linear programming Approximation algorithms PTAS
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