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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 294, 19th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory (SWAT 2024)

We introduce and analyze a model for self-reconfigurable robots made up of unit-cube modules. Compared to past models, our model aims to newly capture two important practical aspects of real-world robots. First, modules often do not occupy an exact unit cube, but rather have features like bumps extending outside the allotted space so that modules can interlock. Thus, for example, our model forbids modules from squeezing in between two other modules that are one unit distance apart. Second, our model captures the practical scenario of many passive modules assembled by a single robot, instead of requiring all modules to be able to move on their own.
We prove two universality results. First, with a supply of auxiliary modules, we show that any connected polycube structure can be constructed by a carefully aligned plane sweep. Second, without additional modules, we show how to construct any structure for which a natural notion of external feature size is at least a constant; this property largely consolidates forbidden-pattern properties used in previous works on reconfigurable modular robots.

MIT-NASA Space Robots Team, Josh Brunner, Kenneth C. Cheung, Erik D. Demaine, Jenny Diomidova, Christine Gregg, Della H. Hendrickson, and Irina Kostitsyna. Reconfiguration Algorithms for Cubic Modular Robots with Realistic Movement Constraints. In 19th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory (SWAT 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 294, pp. 34:1-34:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)

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@InProceedings{mitnasaspacerobotsteam_et_al:LIPIcs.SWAT.2024.34, author = {MIT-NASA Space Robots Team and Brunner, Josh and Cheung, Kenneth C. and Demaine, Erik D. and Diomidova, Jenny and Gregg, Christine and Hendrickson, Della H. and Kostitsyna, Irina}, title = {{Reconfiguration Algorithms for Cubic Modular Robots with Realistic Movement Constraints}}, booktitle = {19th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory (SWAT 2024)}, pages = {34:1--34:18}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-318-8}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2024}, volume = {294}, editor = {Bodlaender, Hans L.}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SWAT.2024.34}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-200742}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SWAT.2024.34}, annote = {Keywords: Modular robotics, programmable matter, digital materials, motion planning} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 291, 12th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2024)

We prove that Hamiltonicity in maximum-degree-3 grid graphs (directed or undirected) is ASP-complete, i.e., it has a parsimonious reduction from every NP search problem (including a polynomial-time bijection between solutions). As a consequence, given k Hamiltonian cycles, it is NP-complete to find another; and counting Hamiltonian cycles is #P-complete. If we require the grid graph’s vertices to form a full m × n rectangle, then we show that Hamiltonicity remains ASP-complete if the edges are directed or if we allow removing some edges (whereas including all undirected edges is known to be easy). These results enable us to develop a stronger "T-metacell" framework for proving ASP-completeness of rectangular puzzles, which requires building just a single gadget representing a degree-3 grid-graph vertex. We apply this general theory to prove ASP-completeness of 37 pencil-and-paper puzzles where the goal is to draw a loop subject to given constraints: Slalom, Onsen-meguri, Mejilink, Detour, Tapa-Like Loop, Kouchoku, Icelom; Masyu, Yajilin, Nagareru, Castle Wall, Moon or Sun, Country Road, Geradeweg, Maxi Loop, Mid-loop, Balance Loop, Simple Loop, Haisu, Reflect Link, Linesweeper; Vertex/Touch Slitherlink, Dotchi-Loop, Ovotovata, Building Walk, Rail Pool, Disorderly Loop, Ant Mill, Koburin, Mukkonn Enn, Rassi Silai, (Crossing) Ichimaga, Tapa, Canal View, and Aqre. The last 13 of these puzzles were not even known to be NP-hard. Along the way, we prove ASP-completeness of some simple forms of Tree-Residue Vertex-Breaking (TRVB), including planar multigraphs with degree-6 breakable vertices, or with degree-4 breakable and degree-1 unbreakable vertices.

MIT Hardness Group, Josh Brunner, Lily Chung, Erik D. Demaine, Della Hendrickson, and Andy Tockman. ASP-Completeness of Hamiltonicity in Grid Graphs, with Applications to Loop Puzzles. In 12th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 291, pp. 23:1-23:20, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)

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@InProceedings{mithardnessgroup_et_al:LIPIcs.FUN.2024.23, author = {MIT Hardness Group and Brunner, Josh and Chung, Lily and Demaine, Erik D. and Hendrickson, Della and Tockman, Andy}, title = {{ASP-Completeness of Hamiltonicity in Grid Graphs, with Applications to Loop Puzzles}}, booktitle = {12th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2024)}, pages = {23:1--23:20}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-314-0}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2024}, volume = {291}, editor = {Broder, Andrei Z. and Tamir, Tami}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.FUN.2024.23}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-199314}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.FUN.2024.23}, annote = {Keywords: pencil-and-paper puzzles, computational complexity, parsimony} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 276, 29th International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming (DNA 29) (2023)

We analyze the computational complexity of basic reconfiguration problems for the recently introduced surface Chemical Reaction Networks (sCRNs), where ordered pairs of adjacent species nondeterministically transform into a different ordered pair of species according to a predefined set of allowed transition rules (chemical reactions). In particular, two questions that are fundamental to the simulation of sCRNs are whether a given configuration of molecules can ever transform into another given configuration, and whether a given cell can ever contain a given species, given a set of transition rules. We show that these problems can be solved in polynomial time, are NP-complete, or are PSPACE-complete in a variety of different settings, including when adjacent species just swap instead of arbitrary transformation (swap sCRNs), and when cells can change species a limited number of times (k-burnout). Most problems turn out to be at least NP-hard except with very few distinct species (2 or 3).

Robert M. Alaniz, Josh Brunner, Michael Coulombe, Erik D. Demaine, Jenny Diomidova, Timothy Gomez, Elise Grizzell, Ryan Knobel, Jayson Lynch, Andrew Rodriguez, Robert Schweller, and Tim Wylie. Complexity of Reconfiguration in Surface Chemical Reaction Networks. In 29th International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming (DNA 29). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 276, pp. 10:1-10:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)

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@InProceedings{alaniz_et_al:LIPIcs.DNA.29.10, author = {Alaniz, Robert M. and Brunner, Josh and Coulombe, Michael and Demaine, Erik D. and Diomidova, Jenny and Gomez, Timothy and Grizzell, Elise and Knobel, Ryan and Lynch, Jayson and Rodriguez, Andrew and Schweller, Robert and Wylie, Tim}, title = {{Complexity of Reconfiguration in Surface Chemical Reaction Networks}}, booktitle = {29th International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming (DNA 29)}, pages = {10:1--10:18}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-297-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2023}, volume = {276}, editor = {Chen, Ho-Lin and Evans, Constantine G.}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.DNA.29.10}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-187936}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.DNA.29.10}, annote = {Keywords: Chemical Reaction Networks, reconfiguration, hardness} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 181, 31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)

When can n given numbers be combined using arithmetic operators from a given subset of {+,-,×,÷} to obtain a given target number? We study three variations of this problem of Arithmetic Expression Construction: when the expression
(1) is unconstrained;
(2) has a specified pattern of parentheses and operators (and only the numbers need to be assigned to blanks); or
(3) must match a specified ordering of the numbers (but the operators and parenthesization are free).
For each of these variants, and many of the subsets of {+,-,×,÷}, we prove the problem NP-complete, sometimes in the weak sense and sometimes in the strong sense. Most of these proofs make use of a rational function framework which proves equivalence of these problems for values in rational functions with values in positive integers.

Leo Alcock, Sualeh Asif, Jeffrey Bosboom, Josh Brunner, Charlotte Chen, Erik D. Demaine, Rogers Epstein, Adam Hesterberg, Lior Hirschfeld, William Hu, Jayson Lynch, Sarah Scheffler, and Lillian Zhang. Arithmetic Expression Construction. In 31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 181, pp. 12:1-12:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{alcock_et_al:LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.12, author = {Alcock, Leo and Asif, Sualeh and Bosboom, Jeffrey and Brunner, Josh and Chen, Charlotte and Demaine, Erik D. and Epstein, Rogers and Hesterberg, Adam and Hirschfeld, Lior and Hu, William and Lynch, Jayson and Scheffler, Sarah and Zhang, Lillian}, title = {{Arithmetic Expression Construction}}, booktitle = {31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)}, pages = {12:1--12:15}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-173-3}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {181}, editor = {Cao, Yixin and Cheng, Siu-Wing and Li, Minming}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.12}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-133568}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.12}, annote = {Keywords: Hardness, algebraic complexity, expression trees} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 181, 31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)

We prove PSPACE-completeness of two classic types of Chess problems when generalized to n × n boards. A "retrograde" problem asks whether it is possible for a position to be reached from a natural starting position, i.e., whether the position is "valid" or "legal" or "reachable". Most real-world retrograde Chess problems ask for the last few moves of such a sequence; we analyze the decision question which gets at the existence of an exponentially long move sequence. A "helpmate" problem asks whether it is possible for a player to become checkmated by any sequence of moves from a given position. A helpmate problem is essentially a cooperative form of Chess, where both players work together to cause a particular player to win; it also arises in regular Chess games, where a player who runs out of time (flags) loses only if they could ever possibly be checkmated from the current position (i.e., the helpmate problem has a solution). Our PSPACE-hardness reductions are from a variant of a puzzle game called Subway Shuffle.

Josh Brunner, Erik D. Demaine, Dylan Hendrickson, and Julian Wellman. Complexity of Retrograde and Helpmate Chess Problems: Even Cooperative Chess Is Hard. In 31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 181, pp. 17:1-17:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{brunner_et_al:LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.17, author = {Brunner, Josh and Demaine, Erik D. and Hendrickson, Dylan and Wellman, Julian}, title = {{Complexity of Retrograde and Helpmate Chess Problems: Even Cooperative Chess Is Hard}}, booktitle = {31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)}, pages = {17:1--17:14}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-173-3}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {181}, editor = {Cao, Yixin and Cheng, Siu-Wing and Li, Minming}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.17}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-133618}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.17}, annote = {Keywords: hardness, board games, PSPACE} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 157, 10th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2021) (2020)

Consider n²-1 unit-square blocks in an n × n square board, where each block is labeled as movable horizontally (only), movable vertically (only), or immovable - a variation of Rush Hour with only 1 × 1 cars and fixed blocks. We prove that it is PSPACE-complete to decide whether a given block can reach the left edge of the board, by reduction from Nondeterministic Constraint Logic via 2-color oriented Subway Shuffle. By contrast, polynomial-time algorithms are known for deciding whether a given block can be moved by one space, or when each block either is immovable or can move both horizontally and vertically. Our result answers a 15-year-old open problem by Tromp and Cilibrasi, and strengthens previous PSPACE-completeness results for Rush Hour with vertical 1 × 2 and horizontal 2 × 1 movable blocks and 4-color Subway Shuffle.

Josh Brunner, Lily Chung, Erik D. Demaine, Dylan Hendrickson, Adam Hesterberg, Adam Suhl, and Avi Zeff. 1 X 1 Rush Hour with Fixed Blocks Is PSPACE-Complete. In 10th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 157, pp. 7:1-7:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{brunner_et_al:LIPIcs.FUN.2021.7, author = {Brunner, Josh and Chung, Lily and Demaine, Erik D. and Hendrickson, Dylan and Hesterberg, Adam and Suhl, Adam and Zeff, Avi}, title = {{1 X 1 Rush Hour with Fixed Blocks Is PSPACE-Complete}}, booktitle = {10th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2021)}, pages = {7:1--7:14}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-145-0}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {157}, editor = {Farach-Colton, Martin and Prencipe, Giuseppe and Uehara, Ryuhei}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.FUN.2021.7}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-127681}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.FUN.2021.7}, annote = {Keywords: puzzles, sliding blocks, PSPACE-hardness} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 157, 10th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2021) (2020)

In the freeze-tag problem, one active robot must wake up many frozen robots. The robots are considered as points in a metric space, where active robots move at a constant rate and activate other robots by visiting them. In the (time-dependent) online variant of the problem, each frozen robot is not revealed until a specified time. Hammar, Nilsson, and Persson have shown that no online algorithm can achieve a competitive ratio better than 7/3 for online freeze-tag, and posed the question of whether an O(1)-competitive algorithm exists. We provide a (1+√2)-competitive algorithm for online time-dependent freeze-tag, and show that this is the best possible: there does not exist an algorithm which achieves a lower competitive ratio on every metric space.

Josh Brunner and Julian Wellman. An Optimal Algorithm for Online Freeze-Tag. In 10th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 157, pp. 8:1-8:11, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{brunner_et_al:LIPIcs.FUN.2021.8, author = {Brunner, Josh and Wellman, Julian}, title = {{An Optimal Algorithm for Online Freeze-Tag}}, booktitle = {10th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2021)}, pages = {8:1--8:11}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-145-0}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {157}, editor = {Farach-Colton, Martin and Prencipe, Giuseppe and Uehara, Ryuhei}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.FUN.2021.8}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-127693}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.FUN.2021.8}, annote = {Keywords: Online algorithm, competitive ratio, freeze-tag} }

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