# Chapter 6. Cuboids. and. vol(conv(p ))

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1 Chapter 6 Cuboids We have already seen that we can efficiently find the bounding box Q(P ) and an arbitrarily good approximation to the smallest enclosing ball B(P ) of a set P R d. Unfortunately, both bounding volumes are bad when the task is to approximate the volume of conv(p ), since the ratios vol(q(p )) vol(conv(p )) and vol(b(p )) vol(conv(p )) can get arbitrarily large even for d = 2, and if conv(p ) has nonzero volume: as the points in P get closer and closer to some fixed nonvertical and nonhorizontal line segment, the volume of the convex hull becomes smaller and smaller, while the volumes of Q(P ) and B(P ) converge to nonzero constants. In this chapter, we show that boxes of arbitrary orientations are better with respect to volume. To distinguish them from the (axis-parallel) boxes, we call them cuboids, see Figure 6.1. Formally, a cuboid is any set of the form C = {Mx x Q d (b, b), M 1 = M T }. (6.1) A matrix M with M 1 = M T is called orthogonal, and in the orthogonal coordinate system defined by the columns of M, C is an axis-parallel box. Figure 6.1: A cuboid in R 2 1

2 6.1 Approximating the smallest enclosing cuboid The exact smallest enclosing cuboid C(P ) of set P R d can be computed in time O(n log n) for d = 2 and O(n 3 ) for d = 3. No better algorithms are known. In contrast, Q(P ) and B(P ) can be computed in optimal time O(n) for d = 2, 3 [3]. This already shows that C(P ) is a more complicated object then B(P ), and that we should be more modest regarding the quality of approximation we can expect. Actually, C(P ) is not even well-defined, because there is not necessarily a unique smallest enclosing cuboid, see Figure 6.2. When we are writing C(P ), we therefore mean some smallest enclosing cuboid, and with a little care, this poses no problems. For example, the quantity vol(c(p )) is well-defined, because it does not depend on the particular choice of C(P ). Figure 6.2: A set may have more than one smallest enclosing cuboid Here is the main result of this section. Theorem For P R d with P = n, we can compute in O(d 2 n) time a cuboid C that contains P and satisfies vol(c) 2 d d!vol(c(p )). This means, for any constant dimension d, we can approximate the volume of the smallest cuboid that contains P up to some constant factor; however, this factor is already pretty bad when the dimension is only moderately high. On the other hand, the result is not as bad as it might look like, and the exponential dependence on d seems very hard to avoid. To see this, let s look at smallest enclosing balls again. In Chapter 5, we have shown that we can find an enclosing ball B of P whose radius is at most (1 + ε) times the radius of B(P ), for any ε > 0. With respect to volume, this means that vol(b) (1 + ε) d vol(b(p )), which is exponential in d. In view of this, the bound in Theorem starts to look somewhat more reasonable. In order to prove the theorem, we first describe an algorithm for computing some bounding cuboid C and then argue about the quality of C. Actually, the algorithm 2

3 PSfrag replacements l 1 v 1 C u 2 v 2 v 3 p v 2 v 1 l 2 v 2 u 1 v 1 Figure 6.3: Cuboid defined by the algorithm, d = 2 computes a point p R d, a set of pairwise orthogonal 1 unit vectors v 1,..., v d, and numbers l k u k, k = 1,..., d such that C = {p + d λ k v k l k λ k u k, k = 1,..., d}, (6.2) see Figure 6.3. In the exercises, we ask you to verify that this set C is indeed a cuboid. We will assume that 0 P. This can be achieved through a translation of P in time O(dn). Now we call the following recursive algorithm with parameters (P, d), meaning that the global invariant holds in the beginning. The algorithm constructs v k, l k, u k one after another, starting with k = d. The point p used in (6.2) will be p = 0. MinCuboid Approx(P, k): (* Global invariant: p v i = 0 for p P, i = k + 1,..., d *) choose q P such that q is maximum IF q 0 THEN v k = q/ q l k = min p P p v k u k = q P = {p (p v k )v k p P } (* Local invariant: p v k = 0 for p P *) MinCuboid Approx(P, k 1) END Before we analyze the algorithm, let us try to get a geometric intuition for the toplevel call with k = d (Figure 6.4). The vector v d is a unit vector pointing in the direction 1 Two vectors v, w are orthogonal if v w = 0. 3

4 of some point q farthest away from 0 P. Because p v d is the (signed) length of p s projection onto the direction v d, the value u d l d = q l d is the extent of P along direction v d. P is the projection of P onto the unique hyperplane h through the origin that is orthogonal to v d. For P, the recursive call finds a (d 1)-dimensional bounding cuboid C within h, which we then extend along direction v d to a cuboid C containing P. q C PSfrag replacements h u d l d p 0 v d C p ] Figure 6.4: Geometric picture of the algorithm Correctness and runtime of the algorithm. Because v k = 1 and p v k = p v k (p v k ) v k 2 = 0, the local invariant holds for all p P. The global invariant also holds in the recursive call, because of the just established local invariant, and because the global invariant for p, q P shows that for i = k + 1,..., d, p v i = (p (p v k )v k ) v i = p v }{{} i (p v k )(v k v i ) = (p v k ) (q v i ) / q = 0. } {{ } =0 =0 The latter equation also shows that v k v i = 0, i = k + 1,..., d which yields the pairwise orthogonality of all the v k. Because there are only d pairwise orthogonal nonzero vectors, the recursion bottoms out for some value k 0. This implies the runtime of O(d 2 n). To prove that the cuboid C = { d i=k+1 λ i v i l i λ i u i, i = k + 1,..., d} (6.3) 4

5 contains P, we proceed by induction on d. For d = 0, or if the condition of the IF clause fails, we have P = C = {0} and k = d, so the claim holds. Now assume d > 0, and we have already proved the claim for d 1. Inductively, we then know that all points p P can be written in the form p = d 1 i=k 0 +1 Furthermore, the definition of p yields where λ i v i, l i λ i u i, i = k + 1,..., d 1. (6.4) p = p + (p v d )v d, (6.5) l d p v d p v d p v d = p q = u d, by the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality. Therefore, setting λ d = (p v d ) and plugging (6.4) into (6.5) gives the desired conclusion p C Quality of the algorithm It remains to bound the volume of the cuboid C resulting from the algorithm according to (6.3). If the value of k for which the recursion bottoms out satisfies k > 0, we have vol(c) = 0 and are done, so we will assume that k = 0. Let P (k), k = 1,..., d, be the iterated projection of P that the algorithm considers in the recursive call with second parameter k. We have P (d) = P, P (d 1) = {p (p v d )v d p P (d) }, and using the pairwise orthogonality of the v k, we can inductively verify the general formula d P (k) = {p (p v i )v i p P }, k = 1,..., d. (6.6) i=k+1 Let q k P (k) be the point chosen for second parameter k, and let p k P be the point of P whose (iterated) projection q k is. As a consequence of the previous equation we have d q k = p k (p k v i )v i, k = 1,..., d. (6.7) i=k+1 The approximation ratio of Theorem is derived using two ingredients: a lower bound on the volume of the smallest enclosing cuboid C(P ), and an upper bound on the volume of the cuboid C computed by the algorithm. 5

6 A lower bound for vol(c(p )). We consider the two sets S q = conv({0, q d,..., q 1 }), S p = conv({0, p d,..., p 1 }). Because the q i are pairwise orthogonal, they are in particular linearly independent. In this case, we can apply the well-known formula for the volume of a simplex in R d to obtain vol(s q ) = 1 d! det(q d,..., q 1 ). On the other hand, (6.7) shows that q k equals p k plus some linear combination of the q i, i > k (note that v i is a multiple of q i ). Recalling that the determinant of a set of vectors does not change when we add to some vector a linear combination of the other vectors, we consequently get (how?) that and therefore det(q d,..., q 1 ) = det(p d,..., p 1 ), vol(s p ) = vol(s q ) = 1 d! d q k, using orthogonality of the q k. Geometrically, this shows that we can transform the simplex S q into the simplex S p, by always moving one of the points parallel to its opposite side. During such a movement, the volume stays constant, see Figure 6.5. PSfrag replacements q k p k ] Figure 6.5: Moving a vertex parallel to the opposite side does not change the volume Now we have a lower bound for the volume of the smallest cuboid C(P ). Because S p conv(p ) C(P ), we get vol(c(p )) vol(conv(p )) vol(s p ) = 1 d q k. (6.8) d! An upper bound for vol(c). By construction of C, we have d vol(c) = (u k l k ), because u k l k is the extent of C in direction of the unit vector v k. Let p be the point defining l k in the recursive call of the algorithm with second parameter k. We get u k l k u k + l k = q k + p v k q k + p v k (Cauchy-Schwarz inequality) = q k + p ( v k = 1) 2 q k. (choice of q) 6

7 It follows that vol(c) 2 d d q k (6.8) 2 d d!vol(c(p )), which is what we wanted to prove in Theorem Looking at (6.8), we see that we have actually proved a little more. Corollary Let C be the cuboid computed by a call to MinCuboid Approx(P, d), P R d. Then vol(c(p )) vol(conv(p )) vol(c) vol(conv(p )) 2d d!. We therefore have shown that C(P ) is strictly better than Q(B) and B(P ) when it comes to approximating the volume: the volume of any smallest enclosing cuboid of P is only by a constant factor (depending on d) larger than the volume of conv(p ). The same factor even holds for the cuboid C that we can easily compute in O(d 2 n) time. This cuboid satisfies an additional property that we mention without proof. This goes back to a paper by Barequet and Har-Peled [1] that also contains a sketch of the algorithm MinCuboid Approx. Theorem Let C be the cuboid computed by a call to MinCuboid Approx(P, d), P R d. There exists a constant α d > 0 (only depending on d) such that C, scaled with α d and suitably translated, is contained in conv(p ), see Figure 6.6. This means that we will find a not-too-small copy of C inside conv(p ), and this is exploited in a number of approximation algorithms for other problems. Figure 6.6: Bounding and inscribed cuboid of the same shape The proof of Theorem (and similar statements) involves properties of an even nicer family of bounding volumes that we introduce next. 6.2 Ellipsoids Definition

8 (i) An ellipsoid in R d is any set of the form E = {x R d (x c) T A(x c) z, where c R d is the center of the ellipsoid, A is a positive definite matrix, 2 and z R. (ii) For λ 0, the scaled ellipsoid λe is the set λe = {c + λ(x c) x E}. This scales E relative to its center, and it is easy to prove (Exercises) that λe is an ellipsoid again. If A is the identity matrix, for example, E is a ball with center c and squared radius z. In general, any ellipsoid is the affine image of a ball, and the image of any ellipsoid under a nonsingular affine transformation is again an ellipsoid. Here is what makes ellipsoids attractive as bounding (and also as inscribed) volumes. This is classic material [2]. Theorem Let K R d be a convex body (this is a convex and compact set of positive volume). (i) There is a unique ellipsoid E(K) of smallest volume such that K E(K) and a unique ellipsoid E(K) of largest volume such that E(K) K. (ii) 1/d E(K) K (iii) de(k) K. (iv) If K is centrally symmetric (p K p K), we have 1/ d E(K) K and de(k) K. This is a theorem, similar in spirit to Theorem The difference is that the scaling factors are explicit (and small), and that no additional translation is required. The theorem says that any convex body is wedged between two concentric ellipsoids whose scale only differs by a factor of d at most. 2 x T Ax > 0 for x 0. 8

9 Bibliography [1] G. Barequet and S. Har-Peled. Efficiently approximating the minimum-volume bounding box of a point set in three dimensions. Journal of Algorithms, 38:91 109, [2] F. John. Extremum problems with inequalities as subsidary conditions. Courant Anniversary,??: , [3] E. Welzl. Smallest enclosing disks (balls and ellipsoids). In H. Maurer, editor, New Results and New Trends in Computer Science, volume 555 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages Springer-Verlag,

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