We study the time complexity of the discrete k-center problem and related (exact) geometric set cover problems when k or the size of the cover is small. We obtain a plethora of new results:
We present a (combinatorial) algorithm with running time close to O(n^d) for computing the minimum directed L_infinity Hausdorff distance between two sets of n points under translations in any constant dimension d. This substantially improves the best previous time bound near O(n^{5d/4}) by Chew, Dor, Efrat, and Kedem from more than twenty years ago. Our solution is obtained by a new generalization of Chan's algorithm [FOCS'13] for Klee's measure problem.
To complement this algorithmic result, we also prove a nearly matching conditional lower bound close to Omega(n^d) for combinatorial algorithms, under the Combinatorial k-Clique Hypothesis.
We consider problems related to finding short cycles, small cliques, small independent sets, and small subgraphs in geometric intersection graphs. We obtain a plethora of new results. For example:
Given n axis-parallel boxes in a fixed dimension d >= 3, how efficiently can we compute the volume of the union? This standard problem in computational geometry, commonly referred to as Klee's measure problem, can be solved in time O(n^{d/2} log n) by an algorithm of Overmars and Yap (FOCS 1988). We give the first (albeit small) improvement: our new algorithm runs in time n^{d/2} 2^{O(log* n)}, where log* denotes the iterated logarithm.
For the related problem of computing the depth in an arrangement of n boxes, we further improve the time bound to near O(n^{d/2} / log^{d/2-1} n), ignoring log log n factors. Other applications and lower-bound possibilities are discussed. The ideas behind the improved algorithms are simple.
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