On finding an empty staircase polygon of largest area (width) in a planar point-set
This paper presents an algorithm for identifying a maximal empty-staircase-polygon (MESP) of largest area, among a set of n points on a rectangular floor. A staircase polygon is an isothetic polygon bounded by two monotonically rising (falling) staircases. A monotonically rising staircase is a sequence of alternatingly horizontal and vertical line segments from the bottom-left corner of the floor to its top-right corner such that for every pair of points α = (x α , y α ) and β = (x β , y β ) on
... the staircase, x α x β implies y α y β . A monotonically falling staircase can similarly be defined from the bottom-right corner of the floor to its top-left corner. An empty staircase polygon is a MESP if it is not contained in another larger empty staircase polygon. The problem of recognizing the largest MESP is formulated using permutation graph, and a simple O(n 3 ) time algorithm is proposed. Next, based on certain novel geometric properties of the problem, an improved algorithm is developed that identifies the largest MESP in O(n 2 ) time and space. The algorithm can be easily tailored for identifying the widest MESP in a similar environment. The general problem of locating the largest area/width MESP among a set of isothetic polygonal obstacles, can be solved easily. These geometric optimization problems have several applications to VLSI layout design, robot motion planning, to name a few.