Near-Optimal Algorithms for Point-Line Covering Problems

Authors Jianer Chen, Qin Huang, Iyad Kanj, Ge Xia

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Author Details

Jianer Chen
  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, TX, USA
Qin Huang
  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, TX, USA
Iyad Kanj
  • School of Computing, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA
Ge Xia
  • Department of Computer Science, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, USA

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Jianer Chen, Qin Huang, Iyad Kanj, and Ge Xia. Near-Optimal Algorithms for Point-Line Covering Problems. In 39th International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science (STACS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 219, pp. 21:1-21:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


We study fundamental point-line covering problems in computational geometry, in which the input is a set S of points in the plane. The first is the Rich Lines problem, which asks for the set of all lines that each covers at least λ points from S, for a given integer parameter λ ≥ 2; this problem subsumes the 3-Points-on-Line problem and the Exact Fitting problem, which - the latter - asks for a line containing the maximum number of points. The second is the NP-hard problem Line Cover, which asks for a set of k lines that cover the points of S, for a given parameter k ∈ ℕ. Both problems have been extensively studied. In particular, the Rich Lines problem is a fundamental problem whose solution serves as a building block for several algorithms in computational geometry. For Rich Lines and Exact Fitting, we present a randomized Monte Carlo algorithm that achieves a lower running time than that of Guibas et al.’s algorithm [Computational Geometry 1996], for a wide range of the parameter λ. We derive lower-bound results showing that, for λ = Ω(√{n log n}), the upper bound on the running time of this randomized algorithm matches the lower bound that we derive on the time complexity of Rich Lines in the algebraic computation trees model. For Line Cover, we present two kernelization algorithms: a randomized Monte Carlo algorithm and a deterministic algorithm. Both algorithms improve the running time of existing kernelization algorithms for Line Cover. We derive lower-bound results showing that the running time of the randomized algorithm we present comes close to the lower bound we derive on the time complexity of kernelization algorithms for Line Cover in the algebraic computation trees model.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Theory of computation → Parameterized complexity and exact algorithms
  • line cover
  • rich lines
  • exact fitting
  • kernelization
  • randomized algorithms
  • complexity lower bounds
  • algebraic computation trees


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