On the chromatic number of some geometric hypergraphs

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19 Scopus citations


A finite family R of simple Jordan regions in the plane defines a hypergraph H = H(R.) where the vertex set of H is R and the hyperedges are all subsets S ⊂ R for which there is a point p such that S = {r ε R|p ε r}. The chromatic number of H(R.) is the minimum number of colors needed to color the members of R such that no hyperedge is monochromatic. In this paper we initiate the study of the chromatic number of such hypergraphs. We obtain the following results: (i) any hypergraph that is induced by a family of n simple Jordan regions (not necessarily convex) such that the union complexity of any m of them is given by U(m) and U(m)/m is non-decreasing is O(U(n)/n)-colorable. Thus, for example we prove that any finite family of pseudodiscs can be colored with a constant number of colors. (ii) any hypergraph induced by a finite family of planar discs is four-colorable. This bound is tight. In fact, we prove that this statement is equivalent to the Four-Color Theorem. (iii) any hypergraph induced by n axis-parallel rectangles is O(log n)-colorable. This bound is asymptotically tight. Our proofs are constructive. Namely, we provide deterministic polynomial-time algorithms for coloring such hypergraphs with only "few" colors (that is, the number of colors used by these algorithms is upper bounded by the same bounds we obtain on the chromatic number of the given hypergraphs) As an application of (i) and (ii) we obtain simple constructive proofs for the following: (iv) Any set of n Jordan regions with near linear union complexity admits a conflict-free (CF) coloring with polylogarithmic number of colors. (v) Any set of n axis-parallel rectangles admits a CF-coloring with 0(log2(n)) colors.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes
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
  • Mathematics (all)


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