Improved Algorithms for Distance Selection and Related Problems

Authors Haitao Wang, Yiming Zhao

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Author Details

Haitao Wang
  • School of Computing, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Yiming Zhao
  • Department of Computer Science, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA

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Haitao Wang and Yiming Zhao. Improved Algorithms for Distance Selection and Related Problems. In 31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 274, pp. 101:1-101:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


In this paper, we propose new techniques for solving geometric optimization problems involving interpoint distances of a point set in the plane. Given a set P of n points in the plane and an integer 1 ≤ k ≤ binom(n,2), the distance selection problem is to find the k-th smallest interpoint distance among all pairs of points of P. The previously best deterministic algorithm solves the problem in O(n^{4/3} log² n) time [Katz and Sharir, 1997]. In this paper, we improve their algorithm to O(n^{4/3} log n) time. Using similar techniques, we also give improved algorithms on both the two-sided and the one-sided discrete Fréchet distance with shortcuts problem for two point sets in the plane. For the two-sided problem (resp., one-sided problem), we improve the previous work [Avraham, Filtser, Kaplan, Katz, and Sharir, 2015] by a factor of roughly log²(m+n) (resp., (m+n)^ε), where m and n are the sizes of the two input point sets, respectively. Other problems whose solutions can be improved by our techniques include the reverse shortest path problems for unit-disk graphs. Our techniques are quite general and we believe they will find many other applications in future.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Theory of computation → Design and analysis of algorithms
  • Geometric optimization
  • distance selection
  • Fréchet distance
  • range searching


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