Subquadratic Encodings for Point Configurations


For many algorithms dealing with sets of points in the plane, the only relevant information carried by the input is the combinatorial configuration of the points: the orientation of each triple of points in the set (clockwise, counterclockwise, or collinear). This information is called the order type of the point set. In the dual, realizable order types and abstract order types are combinatorial analogues of line arrangements and pseudoline arrangements. Too often in the literature we analyze algorithms in the real-RAM model for simplicity, putting aside the fact that computers as we know them cannot handle arbitrary real numbers without some sort of encoding. Encoding an order type by the integer coordinates of a realizing point set is known to yield doubly exponential coordinates in some cases. Other known encodings can achieve quadratic space or fast orientation queries, but not both. In this contribution, we give a compact encoding for abstract order types that allows efficient query of the orientation of any triple: the encoding uses $O(n^2)$ bits and an orientation query takes $O(\log n)$ time in the word-RAM model with word size $w \geq \log n$. This encoding is space-optimal for abstract order types. We show how to shorten the encoding to $O(n^2 {(\log\log n)}^2 / \log n)$ bits for realizable order types, giving the first subquadratic encoding for those order types with fast orientation queries. We further refine our encoding to attain $O(\log n/\log\log n)$ query time at the expense of a negligibly larger space requirement. In the realizable case, we show that all those encodings can be computed efficiently. Finally, we generalize our results to the encoding of point configurations in higher dimension.

In 27th Annual Fall Workshop on Computational Geometry (FWCG 2017), 34th European Workshop on Computational Geometry (EuroCG 2018) and 34th Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2018). Invited to Computational Geometry - Theory and Applications special issues for EuroCG 2018. Invited to Journal of Computational Geometry special issue for SoCG 2018. Best student presentation award at SoCG 2018. To appear in Journal of Computational Geometry