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Fast Fencing


Bringmann,  Karl
Algorithms and Complexity, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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(Preprint), 741KB

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Abrahamsen, M., Adamaszek, A., Bringmann, K., Cohen-Addad, V., Mehr, M., Rotenberg, E., et al. (2018). Fast Fencing. Retrieved from

We consider very natural "fence enclosure" problems studied by Capoyleas, Rote, and Woeginger and Arkin, Khuller, and Mitchell in the early 90s. Given a set $S$ of $n$ points in the plane, we aim at finding a set of closed curves such that (1) each point is enclosed by a curve and (2) the total length of the curves is minimized. We consider two main variants. In the first variant, we pay a unit cost per curve in addition to the total length of the curves. An equivalent formulation of this version is that we have to enclose $n$ unit disks, paying only the total length of the enclosing curves. In the other variant, we are allowed to use at most $k$ closed curves and pay no cost per curve. For the variant with at most $k$ closed curves, we present an algorithm that is polynomial in both $n$ and $k$. For the variant with unit cost per curve, or unit disks, we present a near-linear time algorithm. Capoyleas, Rote, and Woeginger solved the problem with at most $k$ curves in $n^{O(k)}$ time. Arkin, Khuller, and Mitchell used this to solve the unit cost per curve version in exponential time. At the time, they conjectured that the problem with $k$ curves is NP-hard for general $k$. Our polynomial time algorithm refutes this unless P equals NP.