Publications (194)29.12 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: We present and analyze methods for patrolling an environment with a distributed swarm of robots. Our approach uses a physical data structure  a distributed triangulation of the workspace. A large number of stationary "mapping" robots cover and triangulate the environment and a smaller number of mobile "patrolling" robots move amongst them. The focus of this work is to develop, analyze, implement and compare local patrolling policies. We desire strategies that achieve full coverage, but also produce good coverage frequency and visitation times. Policies that provide theoretical guarantees for these quantities have received some attention, but gaps have remained. We present: 1) A summary of how to achieve coverage by building a triangulation of the workspace, and the ensuing properties. 2) A description of simple local policies (LRV, for Least Recently Visited and LFV, for Least Frequently Visited) for achieving coverage by the patrolling robots. 3) New analytical arguments why different versions of LRV may require worst case exponential time between visits of triangles. 4) Analytical evidence that a local implementation of LFV on the edges of the dual graph is possible in our scenario, and immensely better in the worst case. 5) Experimental and simulation validation for the practical usefulness of these policies, showing that even a small number of weak robots with weak local information can greatly outperform a single, powerful robots with full information and computational capabilities.10/2014;  [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In this paper we explore the power of geometry to overcome the limitations of noncooperative selfassembly. We define a generalization of the abstract Tile Assembly Model (aTAM), such that a tile system consists of a collection of polyomino tiles, the Polyomino Tile Assembly Model (polyTAM), and investigate the computational powers of polyTAM systems at temperature 1, where attachment among tiles occurs without glue cooperation. Systems composed of the unitsquare tiles of the aTAM at temperature 1 are believed to be incapable of Turing universal computation (while cooperative systems, with temperature > 1, are able). As our main result, we prove that for any polyomino $P$ of size 3 or greater, there exists a temperature1 polyTAM system containing only shape$P$ tiles that is computationally universal. Our proof leverages the geometric properties of these larger (relative to the aTAM) tiles and their abilities to effectively utilize geometric blocking of particular growth paths of assemblies, while allowing others to complete. To round out our main result, we provide strong evidence that size1 (i.e. aTAM tiles) and size2 polyomino systems are unlikely to be computationally universal by showing that such systems are incapable of geometric bitreading, which is a technique common to all currently known temperature1 computationally universal systems. We further show that larger polyominoes with a limited number of binding positions are unlikely to be computationally universal, as they are only as powerful as temperature1 aTAM systems. Finally, we connect our work with other work on domino selfassembly to show that temperature1 assembly with at least 2 distinct shapes, regardless of the shapes or their sizes, allows for universal computation.08/2014; 
Article: Covering Folded Shapes
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ABSTRACT: Can folding a piece of paper flat make it larger? We explore whether a shape $S$ must be scaled to cover a flatfolded copy of itself. We consider both single folds and arbitrary folds (continuous piecewise isometries $S\rightarrow R^2$). The underlying problem is motivated by computational origami, and is related to other covering and fixturing problems, such as Lebesgue's universal cover problem and force closure grasps. In addition to considering special shapes (squares, equilateral triangles, polygons and disks), we give upper and lower bounds on scale factors for single folds of convex objects and arbitrary folds of simply connected objects.05/2014; 
Article: Covering Folded Shapes
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ABSTRACT: Can folding a piece of paper flat make it larger? We explore whether a shape $S$ must be scaled to cover a flatfolded copy of itself. We consider both single folds and arbitrary folds (continuous piecewise isometries $S\rightarrow R^2$). The underlying problem is motivated by computational origami, and is related to other covering and fixturing problems, such as Lebesgue's universal cover problem and force closure grasps. In addition to considering special shapes (squares, equilateral triangles, polygons and disks), we give upper and lower bounds on scale factors for single folds of convex objects and arbitrary folds of simply connected objects.04/2014; 
Article: Costoblivious storage reallocation
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ABSTRACT: Databases need to allocate and free blocks of storage on disk. Freed blocks introduce holes where no data is stored. Allocation systems attempt to reuse such deallocated regions in order to minimize the footprint on disk. If previously allocated blocks cannot be moved, the problem is called the memory allocation problem, which is known to have a logarithmic overhead in the footprint. This paper defines the storage reallocation problem, where previously allocated blocks can be moved, or reallocated, but at some cost. The algorithms presented here are cost oblivious, in that they work for a broad and reasonable class of cost functions, even when they do not know what the cost function is. The objective is to minimize the storage footprint, that is, the largest memory address containing an allocated object, while simultaneously minimizing the reallocation costs. This paper gives asymptotically optimal algorithms for storage reallocation, in which the storage footprint is at most (1+epsilon) times optimal, and the reallocation cost is at most (1/epsilon) times the original allocation cost, which is also optimal. The algorithms are cost oblivious as long as the allocation/reallocation cost function is subadditive.04/2014; 
Article: Online Square Packing with Gravity
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ABSTRACT: We analyze the problem of packing squares in an online fashion: Given a semiinfinite strip of width 1 and an unknown sequence of squares of side length in [0,1] that arrive from above, one at a time. The objective is to pack these items as they arrive, minimizing the resulting height. Just like in the classical game of Tetris, each square must be moved along a collisionfree path to its final destination. In addition, we account for gravity in both motion (squares must never move up) and position (any final destination must be supported from below). A similar problem has been considered before; the best previous result is by Azar and Epstein, who gave a 4competitive algorithm in a setting without gravity (i.e., with the possibility of letting squares “hang in the air”) based on ideas of shelf packing: Squares are assigned to different horizontal levels, allowing an analysis that is reminiscent of some binpacking arguments. We apply a geometric analysis to establish a competitive factor of 3.5 for the bottomleft heuristic and present a $\frac{34}{13} \approx 2.6154$ competitive algorithm.Algorithmica 04/2014; · 0.49 Impact Factor 
Article: Online SquareintoSquare Packing
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ABSTRACT: In 1967, Moon and Moser proved a tight bound on the critical density of squares in squares: any set of squares with a total area of at most 1/2 can be packed into a unit square, which is tight. The proof requires full knowledge of the set, as the algorithmic solution consists in sorting the objects by decreasing size, and packing them greedily into shelves. Since then, the online version of the problem has remained open; the best upper bound is still 1/2, while the currently best lower bound is 1/3, due to Han et al. (2008). In this paper, we present a new lower bound of 11/32, based on a dynamic shelf allocation scheme, which may be interesting in itself. We also give results for the closely related problem in which the size of the square container is not fixed, but must be dynamically increased in order to ac commodate online sequences of objects. For this variant, we establish an upper bound of 3/7 for the critical density, and a lower bound of 1/8. When aiming for accommodating an online sequence of squares, this corresponds to a 2.82... competitive method for minimizing the required container size, and a lower bound of 1.33 . . . for the achievable factor.03/2014;  [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In the original Art Gallery Problem (AGP), one seeks the minimum number of guards required to cover a polygon $P$. We consider the Chromatic AGP (CAGP), where the guards are colored. As long as $P$ is completely covered, the number of guards does not matter, but guards with overlapping visibility regions must have different colors. This problem has applications in landmarkbased mobile robot navigation: Guards are landmarks, which have to be distinguishable (hence the colors), and are used to encode motion primitives, \eg, "move towards the red landmark". Let $\chi_G(P)$, the chromatic number of $P$, denote the minimum number of colors required to color any guard cover of $P$. We show that determining, whether $\chi_G(P) \leq k$ is \NPhard for all $k \geq 2$. Keeping the number of colors minimal is of great interest for robot navigation, because less types of landmarks lead to cheaper and more reliable recognition.03/2014;  [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Micro and nanorobots are often controlled by global input signals, such as an electromagnetic or gravitational field. These fields move each robot maximally until it hits a stationary obstacle or another stationary robot. This paper investigates 2D motionplanning complexity for large swarms of simple mobile robots (such as bacteria, sensors, or smart building material). In previous work we proved it is NPhard to decide whether a given initial configuration can be transformed into a desired target configuration; in this paper we prove a stronger result: the problem of finding an optimal control sequence is PSPACEcomplete. On the positive side, we show we can build useful systems by designing obstacles. We present a reconfigurable hardware platform and demonstrate how to form arbitrary permutations and build a compact absolute encoder. We then take the same platform and use dualrail logic to build a universal logic gate that concurrently evaluates AND, NAND, NOR and OR operations. Using many of these gates and appropriate interconnects we can evaluate any logical expression.02/2014;  [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This paper presents a distributed approach for exploring and triangulating an unknown region using a multi robot system. The objective is to produce a covering of an unknown workspace by a fixed number of robots such that the covered region is maximized, solving the Maximum Area Triangulation Problem (MATP). The resulting triangulation is a physical data structure that is a compact representation of the workspace; it contains distributed knowledge of each triangle, adjacent triangles, and the dual graph of the workspace. Algorithms can store information in this physical data structure, such as a routing table for robot navigation Our algorithm builds a triangulation in a closed environment, starting from a single location. It provides coverage with a breadthfirst search pattern and completeness guarantees. We show the computational and communication requirements to build and maintain the triangulation and its dual graph are small. Finally, we present a physical navigation algorithm that uses the dual graph, and show that the resulting path lengths are within a constant factor of the shortestpath Euclidean distance. We validate our theoretical results with experiments on triangulating a region with a system of lowcost robots. Analysis of the resulting quality of the triangulation shows that most of the triangles are of high quality, and cover a large area. Implementation of the triangulation, dual graph, and navigation all use communication messages of fixed size, and are a practical solution for large populations of lowcost robots.02/2014; 
Conference Paper: Reconfiguring Massive Particle Swarms with Limited, Global Control
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ABSTRACT: In this paper we investigate control of a large swarm of mobile particles (such as robots, sensors, or building material) that move in a 2D workspace using a global input signal such as gravity or a magnetic field. Upon activation of the field, each robot moves maximally in the same direction, until it hits a stationary obstacle or another stationary robot. In an open workspace this system model is of limited use because it has only two controllable degrees of freedomall robots receive the same inputs and move uniformly. We show that adding a maze of obstacles to the environment can make the system drastically more complex but also more useful. If we are given a fixed set of stationary obstacles, we prove that it is NPhard to decide whether a given initial configuration can be transformed into a desired target configuration. On the positive side, we provide constructive algorithms to design workspaces that efficiently implement arbitrary permutations between different configurations.International Symposium on Algorithms and Experiments for Sensor Systems, Wireless Networks and Distributed Robotics (ALGOSENSORS); 09/2013 
Article: Facets for Art Gallery Problems
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ABSTRACT: The Art Gallery Problem (AGP) asks for placing a minimum number of stationary guards in a polygonal region P, such that all points in P are guarded. The problem is known to be NPhard, and its inherent continuous structure (with both the set of points that need to be guarded and the set of points that can be used for guarding being uncountably infinite) makes it difficult to apply a straightforward formulation as an Integer Linear Program. We use an iterative primaldual relaxation approach for solving AGP instances to optimality. At each stage, a pair of LP relaxations for a finite candidate subset of primal covering and dual packing constraints and variables is considered; these correspond to possible guard positions and points that are to be guarded. Particularly useful are cutting planes for eliminating fractional solutions. We identify two classes of facets, based on Edge Cover and Set Cover (SC) inequalities. Solving the separation problem for the latter is NPcomplete, but exploiting the underlying geometric structure, we show that large subclasses of fractional SC solutions cannot occur for the AGP. This allows us to separate the relevant subset of facets in polynomial time. We also characterize all facets for finite AGP relaxations with coefficients in {0, 1, 2}. Finally, we demonstrate the practical usefulness of our approach with improved solution quality and speed for a wide array of large benchmark instances; as it turns out, our results yield a significant improvement.08/2013; 
Conference Paper: Point Guards and Point Clouds: Solving general Art Gallery Problems
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ABSTRACT: In this video, we illustrate how one of the classical areas of computational geometry has gained in practical relevance, which in turn gives rise to new, fascinating geometric problems. In particular, we demonstrate how the robot platform IRMA3D can produce highresolution, virtual 3D environments, based on a limited number of laser scans. Computing an optimal set of scans amounts to solving an instance of the Art Gallery Problem (AGP): Place a minimum number of stationary guards in a polygonal region P, such that all points in P are guarded.Proccedings of the 20th ACM Annual Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG '13); 06/2013 
Article: Reallocation Problems in Scheduling
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ABSTRACT: In traditional online problems, such as scheduling, requests arrive over time, demanding available resources. As each request arrives, some resources may have to be irrevocably committed to servicing that request. In many situations, however, it may be possible or even necessary to reallocate previously allocated resources in order to satisfy a new request. This reallocation has a cost. This paper shows how to service the requests while minimizing the reallocation cost. We focus on the classic problem of scheduling jobs on a multiprocessor system. Each unitsize job has a time window in which it can be executed. Jobs are dynamically added and removed from the system. We provide an algorithm that maintains a valid schedule, as long as a sufficiently feasible schedule exists. The algorithm reschedules only a total number of O(min{log^* n, log^* Delta}) jobs for each job that is inserted or deleted from the system, where n is the number of active jobs and Delta is the size of the largest window.Algorithmica 05/2013; · 0.49 Impact Factor  [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We consider the following online allocation problem: Given a unit square S, and a sequence of numbers n_i between 0 and 1, with partial sum bounded by 1; at each step i, select a region C_i of previously unassigned area n_i in S. The objective is to make these regions compact in a distanceaware sense: minimize the maximum (normalized) average Manhattan distance between points from the same set C_i. Related location problems have received a considerable amount of attention; in particular, the problem of determining the "optimal shape of a city", i.e., allocating a single n_i has been studied. We present an online strategy, based on an analysis of spacefilling curves; for continuous shapes, we prove a factor of 1.8092, and 1.7848 for discrete point sets.04/2013; 
Conference Paper: Online Exploration and Triangulation in Orthogonal Polygonal Regions
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ABSTRACT: We consider the problem of exploring and triangulating a region with a swarm of robots with limited vision and communication range. For an unknown polygonal region P, the Online Minimum Relay Triangulation Problem (OMRTP) asks for an exploration strategy that maintains a triangulation with limited edge length and achieves a minimum number of robots (relays), such that the triangulation covers P; for a given number n of robots, the Online Maximum Area Triangulation Problem (OMATP) asks for maximizing the triangulated area. Both problems have been studied before, with a competitive factor of 3 for the OMRTP in general polygons, and an unbounded competitive factor for the OMATP; the latter holds for polygons with very narrow corridors. In this paper, we study the OMRTP for polygons without such bottlenecks: polyominoes, i.e., orthogonal polygons with integer edge lengths. Based on optimal solutions for small squares, we establish a competitive factor of 173√16+3√≈1.661 for polyominoes with and 193√20+3√≈1.514 for polyominoes without holes. We also give a lower bound of 3837≈1.027 for any deterministic strategy for the OMRTP in polyominoes. For the OMATP, we establish a competitive factor of 233√≈0.3849 , and argue that this is asymptotically optimal.WALCOM 2013, Kharagpur India; 02/2013 
Conference Paper: Triangulating Unknown Environments using Robot Swarms. (Video)
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ABSTRACT: We give an algorithm that determines the number (S) of straight line triangulations of a set S of n points in the plane in worst case time O(n2 2n). This is the the first algorithm that is provably faster than enumeration, since ...Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG); 01/2013  01/2013;
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ABSTRACT: In this paper we explore the power of tile selfassembly models that extend the wellstudied abstract Tile Assembly Model (aTAM) by permitting tiles of shapes beyond unit squares. Our main result shows the surprising fact that any aTAM system, consisting of many different tile types, can be simulated by a single tile type of a general shape. As a consequence, we obtain a single universal tile type of a single (constantsize) shape that serves as a "universal tile machine": the single universal tile type can simulate any desired aTAM system when given a single seed assembly that encodes the desired aTAM system. We also show how to adapt this result to convert any of a variety of plane tiling systems (such as Wang tiles) into a "nearly" plane tiling system with a single tile (but with small gaps between the tiles). All of these results rely on the ability to both rotate and translate tiles; by contrast, we show that a single nonrotatable tile, of arbitrary shape, can produce assemblies which either grow infinitely or cannot grow at all, implying drastically limited computational power. On the positive side, we show how to simulate arbitrary cellular automata for a limited number of steps using a single nonrotatable tile and a linearsize seed assembly.12/2012;  [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In 1991, Edelsbrunner and Tan gave an O(n^2) algorithm for finding the MinMax Length triangulation of a set of points in the plane. In this paper we resolve one of the open problems stated in that paper, by showing that finding a MaxMin Length triangulation is an NPcomplete problem. The proof implies that (unless P=NP), there is no polynomialtime approximation algorithm that can approximate the problem within any polynomial factor.08/2012;
Publication Stats
2k  Citations  
29.12  Total Impact Points  
Top Journals
Institutions

1970–2014

Technische Universität Braunschweig
 • Department of Computer Science
 • Institut für Betriebssysteme und Rechnerverbund
 • Institut für Mathematische Optimierung
Brunswyck, Lower Saxony, Germany 
OttoFriedrichUniversität Bamberg
Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany


2010

Universität zu Lübeck
 Institut für Telematik
Lübeck, SchleswigHolstein, Germany


2005

Universitätsklinikum Erlangen
Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany


1970–2005

University of Cologne
 Mathematical Institute
Köln, North RhineWestphalia, Germany


2004

University of Bonn
 Institute for Computer Sciences
Bonn, North RhineWestphalia, Germany


2003

Universiteit Twente
Enschede, Overijssel, Netherlands


2002

State University of New York
New York City, New York, United States


2000–2001

Technische Universität Berlin
 Department of Mathematics
Berlin, Land Berlin, Germany
