Preprocessing Ambiguous Imprecise Points

Authors Ivor van der Hoog, Irina Kostitsyna, Maarten Löffler, Bettina Speckmann

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Author Details

Ivor van der Hoog
  • Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Irina Kostitsyna
  • Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Maarten Löffler
  • Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Bettina Speckmann
  • Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands


The authors would like to thank Jean Cardinal for insightful discussions.

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Ivor van der Hoog, Irina Kostitsyna, Maarten Löffler, and Bettina Speckmann. Preprocessing Ambiguous Imprecise Points. In 35th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 129, pp. 42:1-42:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Let R = {R_1, R_2, ..., R_n} be a set of regions and let X = {x_1, x_2, ..., x_n} be an (unknown) point set with x_i in R_i. Region R_i represents the uncertainty region of x_i. We consider the following question: how fast can we establish order if we are allowed to preprocess the regions in R? The preprocessing model of uncertainty uses two consecutive phases: a preprocessing phase which has access only to R followed by a reconstruction phase during which a desired structure on X is computed. Recent results in this model parametrize the reconstruction time by the ply of R, which is the maximum overlap between the regions in R. We introduce the ambiguity A(R) as a more fine-grained measure of the degree of overlap in R. We show how to preprocess a set of d-dimensional disks in O(n log n) time such that we can sort X (if d=1) and reconstruct a quadtree on X (if d >= 1 but constant) in O(A(R)) time. If A(R) is sub-linear, then reporting the result dominates the running time of the reconstruction phase. However, we can still return a suitable data structure representing the result in O(A(R)) time. In one dimension, {R} is a set of intervals and the ambiguity is linked to interval entropy, which in turn relates to the well-studied problem of sorting under partial information. The number of comparisons necessary to find the linear order underlying a poset P is lower-bounded by the graph entropy of P. We show that if P is an interval order, then the ambiguity provides a constant-factor approximation of the graph entropy. This gives a lower bound of Omega(A(R)) in all dimensions for the reconstruction phase (sorting or any proximity structure), independent of any preprocessing; hence our result is tight. Finally, our results imply that one can approximate the entropy of interval graphs in O(n log n) time, improving the O(n^{2.5}) bound by Cardinal et al.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Design and analysis of algorithms
  • preprocessing
  • imprecise points
  • entropy
  • sorting
  • proximity structures


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