Imai Laboratory > Projects > Triangulations
Last Modified: 2000-08-22 (Minor Update on 2003-05-02)


What of triangulations are we interested in?

Example of triangulation Given a point configuration, there are several triangulations of the convex hull of the points, using only the given points. For example, the point configuration made by the vertices of a pentagon has five triangulations indicated in the figure.

Triangulations are not merely existing, but they have some structure. In the example of the pentagon, pairs of triangulations which can change to each other by changing one edge (such operations are called flips) are connected by dotted lines. So, with respect to this local transformation, the five triangulations are forming a structure of a pentagonal graph.

The aim of our research is to study the structure of triangulations in general dimension.

Our results


Enumeration of triangulations
We have established algorithms to enumerate efficiently the whole set of triangulations for a given point set. We also wrote programs implementing these algorithms. Point configurations having triangulations of mathematical interest often happen to be symmetric. We also have devised an algorithm to enumerate regular triangulations for such symmetric point configurations efficiently.
Triangulations and dissections
In a triangulation, the components forming the division are required to be touching nicely. However, for some applications such as volume computation, only the decomposition is enough, and they need not be touching nicely (such decompositions are called dissections). We have found examples showing the difference of these two classes of decomposition: an example with the minimal dissection using less simplices than minimal triangulation, maximal dissection using more simplices than maximal triangulation, upper and lower bounds for the size of dissections.
Incremental construction properties of simplicial complexes
Simplicial complexes are forming a superclass of triangulations. Several kinds of incremental construction properties of simplicial complexes have been known. We have shown relations between some of these properties. Study of such incremental construction properties are important when handling geometric objects by computer.

Applications of triangulations

Polytopes often become easier to handle when divided into smaller parts. There are many areas requiring techniques to handle three dimensional point configurations, and triangulations become important there. Examples of such areas are computer graphics, simulations for engineering, and handling 3D structures of DNA or proteins in biology.

Last modified: Thu Aug 17 22:20:54 2000