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Mountain Climbing, Ladder Moving, and the Ring-Width of a Polygon

by Jacob Goodman, Janos Pach, and Chee K. Yap

Year of Award: 1990

Award: Lester R. Ford

Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 96, 1989, pp. 494-510

Summary: This paper examines several geometric problems that turn out to be intimately related, ranging from mathematical folklore to motion-planning in robotics.

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About the Authors: (from The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 96 (1989))

Jacob Goodman received his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1967, under the direction of Heisuke Hironaka. In addition to algebraic geometry, he has worked in topological graph theory and discrete geometry, and has coauthored a series of papers with Richard Pollack focusing on the interplay between geometric and topological properties of configurations of points and arrangements of hyperplanes and their generalizations.

He is coeditor in chief of Discrete & Computational Geometry, a journal of mathematics and computer science published by Springer-Verlag.

Janos Pach received his Ph.D. at Eötvös University, Budapest, in 1980, under the direction of Miklós Simonovits. He is a senior research fellow at the Mathematical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, working mainly in combinatorics, discrete geometry, and computational geometry. He is a frequent visitor at the Courant Institute, New York University.

Chee K. Yap was born in Singapore in 1952, grew up in Malaysia, and attended MIT (B.S., 1975) and Yale (Ph.D., 1980). Since 1981, he has been at the Computer Science Department of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University. He is an editor of S.I.A.M. Journal of Computing and the Journal of Computer and System Sciences. His research interests are mainly (ultimately) algorithmic, whether in the guise of complexity theory, symbolic and algebraic computation, computational geometry, or robotic ‘applications’ as in this article.


Subject classification(s): Geometry and Topology
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, September 23, 2008