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No-Dimensional Tverberg Theorems and Algorithms

Authors Aruni Choudhary , Wolfgang Mulzer

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Aruni Choudhary
  • Institut für Informatik, Freie Universität Berlin, Takustraße 9, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Wolfgang Mulzer
  • Institut für Informatik, Freie Universität Berlin, Takustraße 9, 14195 Berlin, Germany


We would like to thank Frédéric Meunier for stimulating discussions about the Colorful Carathéodory theorem and related problems and for hosting us during a research stay at his lab. We would also like to thank Sergey Bereg for helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript.

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Aruni Choudhary and Wolfgang Mulzer. No-Dimensional Tverberg Theorems and Algorithms. In 36th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 164, pp. 31:1-31:17, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Tverberg’s theorem states that for any k ≥ 2 and any set P ⊂ ℝ^d of at least (d + 1)(k - 1) + 1 points, we can partition P into k subsets whose convex hulls have a non-empty intersection. The associated search problem lies in the complexity class PPAD ∩ PLS, but no hardness results are known. In the colorful Tverberg theorem, the points in P have colors, and under certain conditions, P can be partitioned into colorful sets, in which each color appears exactly once and whose convex hulls intersect. To date, the complexity of the associated search problem is unresolved. Recently, Adiprasito, Bárány, and Mustafa [SODA 2019] gave a no-dimensional Tverberg theorem, in which the convex hulls may intersect in an approximate fashion. This relaxes the requirement on the cardinality of P. The argument is constructive, but does not result in a polynomial-time algorithm. We present a deterministic algorithm that finds for any n-point set P ⊂ ℝ^d and any k ∈ {2, … , n} in O(nd ⌈log k⌉) time a k-partition of P such that there is a ball of radius O((k/√n)diam(P)) that intersects the convex hull of each set. Given that this problem is not known to be solvable exactly in polynomial time, and that there are no approximation algorithms that are truly polynomial in any dimension, our result provides a remarkably efficient and simple new notion of approximation. Our main contribution is to generalize Sarkaria’s method [Israel Journal Math., 1992] to reduce the Tverberg problem to the Colorful Carathéodory problem (in the simplified tensor product interpretation of Bárány and Onn) and to apply it algorithmically. It turns out that this not only leads to an alternative algorithmic proof of a no-dimensional Tverberg theorem, but it also generalizes to other settings such as the colorful variant of the problem.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Theory of computation → Graph algorithms analysis
  • Tverberg’s theorem
  • Colorful Carathéodory Theorem
  • Tensor lifting


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