Generalized Comparison Trees for Point-Location Problems

Authors Daniel M. Kane , Shachar Lovett , Shay Moran

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Daniel M. Kane
  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering/Department of Mathematics, University of California, San Diego
Shachar Lovett
  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego
Shay Moran
  • Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

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Daniel M. Kane, Shachar Lovett, and Shay Moran. Generalized Comparison Trees for Point-Location Problems. In 45th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 107, pp. 82:1-82:13, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


Let H be an arbitrary family of hyper-planes in d-dimensions. We show that the point-location problem for H can be solved by a linear decision tree that only uses a special type of queries called generalized comparison queries. These queries correspond to hyperplanes that can be written as a linear combination of two hyperplanes from H; in particular, if all hyperplanes in H are k-sparse then generalized comparisons are 2k-sparse. The depth of the obtained linear decision tree is polynomial in d and logarithmic in |H|, which is comparable to previous results in the literature that use general linear queries. This extends the study of comparison trees from a previous work by the authors [Kane {et al.}, FOCS 2017]. The main benefit is that using generalized comparison queries allows to overcome limitations that apply for the more restricted type of comparison queries. Our analysis combines a seminal result of Forster regarding sets in isotropic position [Forster, JCSS 2002], the margin-based inference dimension analysis for comparison queries from [Kane {et al.}, FOCS 2017], and compactness arguments.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation
  • linear decision trees
  • comparison queries
  • point location problems


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