The continuous 1.5D terrain guarding problem: Discretization, optimal solutions, and PTAS

Stephan Friedrichs, Michael Hemmer, James King, Christiane Schmidt


In the NP-hard continuous 1.5D Terrain Guarding Problem (TGP) we are given an $x$-monotone chain of line segments in $R^2$ (the terrain $T$), and ask for the minimum number of guards (located anywhere on $T$) required to guard all of $T$. We construct guard candidate and witness sets $G, W \subset T$ of polynomial size such that any feasible (optimal) guard cover $G^* \subseteq G$ for $W$ is also feasible (optimal) for the continuous TGP. This discretization allows us to: (1) settle NP-completeness for the continuous TGP; (2) provide a Polynomial Time Approximation Scheme (PTAS) for the continuous TGP using the PTAS for the discrete TGP by Gibson et al.; (3) formulate the continuous TGP as an Integer Linear Program (IP). Furthermore, we propose several filtering techniques reducing the size of our discretization, allowing us to devise an efficient IP-based algorithm that reliably provides optimal guard placements for terrains with up to $10^6$ vertices within minutes on a standard desktop computer.

Full Text:



ISSN: 1920-180X