Peeling and Nibbling the Cactus: Subexponential-Time Algorithms for Counting Triangulations and Related Problems

Authors Dániel Marx, Tillmann Miltzow

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Dániel Marx
Tillmann Miltzow

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Dániel Marx and Tillmann Miltzow. Peeling and Nibbling the Cactus: Subexponential-Time Algorithms for Counting Triangulations and Related Problems. In 32nd International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 51, pp. 52:1-52:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


Given a set of n points S in the plane, a triangulation T of S is a maximal set of non-crossing segments with endpoints in S. We present an algorithm that computes the number of triangulations on a given set of n points in time n^{ (11+ o(1)) sqrt{n} }, significantly improving the previous best running time of O(2^n n^2) by Alvarez and Seidel [SoCG 2013]. Our main tool is identifying separators of size O(sqrt{n}) of a triangulation in a canonical way. The definition of the separators are based on the decomposition of the triangulation into nested layers ("cactus graphs"). Based on the above algorithm, we develop a simple and formal framework to count other non-crossing straight-line graphs in n^{O(sqrt{n})} time. We demonstrate the usefulness of the framework by applying it to counting non-crossing Hamilton cycles, spanning trees, perfect matchings, 3-colorable triangulations, connected graphs, cycle decompositions, quadrangulations, 3-regular graphs, and more.
  • computational geometry
  • triangulations
  • exponential-time algorithms


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