Finding large sticks and potatoes in polygons

Olaf Hall-Holt, Matthew J. Katz, Piyush Kumar, Joseph S.B. Mitchell, Arik Sityon

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We study a class of optimization problems in polygons that seek to compute the "largest" subset of a prescribed type, e.g., a longest line segment ("stick"or a maximum-area triangle or convex body ("potato"). Exact polynomial-time algorithms are known for some of these problems, but their time bounds are high (e.g., O(n 7) for the largest convex polygon in a simple n-gon). We devise efficient approximation algorithms for these problems. In particular, we give near-linear time algorithms for a (1-ε)-approximation of the biggest stick, an O(1)-approximation of the maximum-area convex body, and a (1 - ε)-approximation of the maximum-area fat triangle or rectangle. In addition, we give efficient methods for computing large ellipses inside a polygon (whose vertices are a dense sampling of a closed smooth curve). Our algorithms include both deterministic and randomized methods, one of which has been implemented (for computing large area ellipses in a well sampled closed smooth curve).

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2006
EventSeventeenth Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms - Miami, FL, United States
Duration: 22 Jan 200624 Jan 2006


ConferenceSeventeenth Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMiami, FL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • General Mathematics


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