Department of Computer Science | Institute of Theoretical Computer Science | CADMO

Theory of Combinatorial Algorithms

Prof. Emo Welzl and Prof. Bernd Gärtner

Mittagsseminar (in cooperation with A. Steger, D. Steurer and B. Sudakov)

Mittagsseminar Talk Information

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 12:15 pm

Duration: 30 minutes

Location: Zoom: conference room

Speaker: Julian Portmann

Tight Bounds for Deterministic High-Dimensional Grid Exploration

We study the problem of exploring an oriented grid with autonomous agents governed by finite automata. In the case of a 2-dimensional grid, the question how many agents are required to explore the grid, or equivalently, find a hidden treasure in the grid, is fully understood in both the synchronous and the semi-synchronous setting. For higher dimensions, Dobrev, Narayanan, Opatrny, and Pankratov [ICALP’19] showed very recently that, surprisingly, a (small) constant number of agents suffices to find the treasure, independent of the number of dimensions, thereby disproving a conjecture by Cohen, Emek, Louidor, and Uitto [SODA’17]. Dobrev et al. left as an open question whether their bounds on the number of agents can be improved. We answer this question in the affirmative for deterministic finite automata: we show that 3 synchronous and 4 semi-synchronous agents suffice to explore an n-dimensional grid for any constant n. The bounds are optimal and notably, the matching lower bounds already hold in the 2-dimensional case.

Our techniques can also be used to make progress on other open questions asked by Dobrev et al.: we prove that 4 synchronous and 5 semi-synchronous agents suffice for polynomial-time exploration, and we show that, under a natural assumption, 3 synchronous and 4 semi-synchronous agents suffice to explore unoriented grids of arbitrary dimension (which, again, is tight).

Joint work with Sebastian Brandt and Jara Uitto.

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