Chord arrangement that avoids confining small or large disks - MathOverflow most recent 30 from http://mathoverflow.net 2013-05-19T02:01:46Z http://mathoverflow.net/feeds/question/76980 http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/rdf http://mathoverflow.net/questions/76980/chord-arrangement-that-avoids-confining-small-or-large-disks Chord arrangement that avoids confining small or large disks Joseph O'Rourke 2011-10-02T13:31:54Z 2011-10-03T10:08:00Z <p><strike>This question is</strike> These two questions are two-dimensional variations on this recent MO question, "<a href="http://mathoverflow.net/questions/76945/" rel="nofollow">Threading pinholes in the wall of cylinder to pass through an internal coordinate</a>." Noam Elkies suggested that even a 2D version might lead to interesting mathematics. Here I've taken the liberty to pose two specific 2D questions directly inspired by the original 3D question:</p> <blockquote> <p><b>P1.</b> Arrange \$n\$ points on a circle to maximize the smallest radius of a chord-confined disk.</p> </blockquote> <p>The \$n\$ points determine \$\binom{n}{2}\$ chords, which partition the disk into cells. Among cells entirely bounded by chords (as opposed to bounded by chords and a circle arc), the question asks to maximize the size of the inscribed disks, i.e., to avoid any small disk. In the example below, the green disk is the smallest; I do not know if another \$n=5\$ arrangement results in a larger smallest disk. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <img src="http://cs.smith.edu/~orourke/MathOverflow/ChordsDisk.jpg" alt="Chords"></p> <p>Let \$r(n)\$ be this max-min radius. It seems that finding the exact value of \$r(n)\$ for small \$n\$ could be interesting, as well as determining its asymptotic behavior.</p> <p>Another version is:</p> <blockquote> <p><b>P2.</b> Arrange \$n\$ points on a circle to minimize the largest radius of an interior disk not crossed by any chord.</p> </blockquote> <p>Call this min-max quantity \$R(n)\$. Note (<em>updated</em>) that, unlike in <b>P1</b>, here disks confined by chords and the outer circle are included. This is perhaps closer to the spirit of the 3D question, for then no point in the disk is ever far from a chord. Again I do not know if, for \$n=5\$, the blue disk above is the minimum of the largest confined disks over all 5-point arrangements. <b>Update</b>. Certainly not, as Simon shows in his answer. And here is a better arrangement for <b>P2</b> with \$n=5\$, following Gerhard's suggestion (the three blue disks have the same radius): <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <img src="http://cs.smith.edu/~orourke/MathOverflow/ChordsDisk5R.jpg" alt="5R"></p> http://mathoverflow.net/questions/76980/chord-arrangement-that-avoids-confining-small-or-large-disks/76992#76992 Answer by Simon Rose for Chord arrangement that avoids confining small or large disks Simon Rose 2011-10-02T17:21:45Z 2011-10-02T17:21:45Z <p>The blue disk given is not the minimum size of the largest disk. By symmetry, there are only three sized involved, and the yellow disk is strictly smaller than the blue one.</p> <p>So if we pick one of the five points and perturb it a little, the blue disk will shrink while one of the yellow ones next to it will grow---however, there is a non-zero amount that you can move the point before the yellow one becomes larger than the blue one.</p>