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AMS 345/CSE 355 (Spring, 2006) Joe Mitchell

Homework Set # 3 – Solution Notes
(1). Note that in class, and on the web, I simplified the requirement slightly, asking only that you
produce an example that is, say, monotone in x and monotone in y, but not monotone in the
direction y = x (45 degrees) and also not monotone in the direction y = −x (135 degrees). This is
sufficient to show an example having at least two distinct double cones of directions for which the
polygon is monotone.
There are many possible examples. One class of examples is based on taking a convex polygon
and “denting inward” each of its sides. See the example below. Another example comes from a
“cross” or “plus” sign, “+”, for which the set of directions with respect to which the (rectilinear)
polygon is monotone consists of just 0 (=180) degrees and 90 (=270) degrees (two “point” intervals).

intervals of

(2). (a). Give an example of a polygon P that is star-shaped (g(P ) = 1) but not monotone.
The example below is one (of many) that is star-shaped (I show a black dot that can see all of
it) yet is not monotone with respect to any direction. (Can you argue that there is no direction d
for which it is d-monotone?)

(b). Given an example of a polygon P that is monotone (and show a direction d with respect to
which it is monotone) but not star-shaped (so g(P ) > 1).
The example below is one (of many) that is monotone (it is, e.g., y-monotone, since any hori-
zontal line intersects it in a single line segment), yet is not star-shaped. (The top vertex and bottom
vertex form a set of two independent witness points; thus, at least two guards are required.)

(c). Let P be a monotone mountain with guard number 2 (g(P ) = 2). True or false: There
exists a pair of guards, g1 and g2 , such that g1 and g2 see all of P , and g1 sees g2 . (i.e., g1 and g2
form a “guard network”)
Suppose, without loss of generality, that P is x-monotone, with its lower chain being a single
line segment (the base). Suppose that g1 and g2 guard P . Let g10 be a point in P that lies directly
below g1 ; i.e., g10 has a smaller y-coordinate than g1 , but the same x-coordinate.
Claim: g10 sees at least as much as g1 does. More precisely, any point p ∈ P that sees g1 also
sees g10 . To see this, let us look at the triangle g1 g10 p. We know that the edge g1 g10 does not exit
P (since P is y-monotone). We also know that g1 p does not exit P , since we assumed that g1 sees
p. We are claiming that g10 p ⊂ P . Suppose to the contrary that some point q ∈ g10 p lies outside
P . Then the horizontal line, `, through q intersects P in two or more pieces, contradicting the
y-monotonicity of P . Thus, g10 p lies inside P , and g10 sees p for any p that is seen by g1 . This proves
our claim.
Thus, for any two guards g1 and g2 that guard all of P , we simply replace g1 with a new guard
g1 that is as far left of g1 as possible (so g10 lies on the base of the monotone mountain P ), and

we similarly replace g2 with a new guard g20 on the base of P . By our claim above, these two new
guards see at least as much of P as the old ones did; thus, they continue to cover all of P . Thus, g 10
and g20 form a guard cover. Also, g10 sees g20 , since they both lie on a common edge of P . (Note that
if we were speaking of monotone polygons, not monotone mountains, the claim would not hold:
there are cases in which a monotone polygon may be 2-guardable but there is no way to position
the 2 guards so that they see one another, while still covering the whole polygon.)
(3). For the monotone mountains shown below, show the (unique) triangulation that is given by
the algorithm we presented in class for triangulating monotone mountains.
In both cases, the base is the left chain (the polygons are monotone with respect to the vertical
direction, as well as near-vertical directions, but the base is always the left segment in these two
polygons (this will not hold in general! Some monotone mountains exist for which more than one
edge can serve as the base: do you see such examples? How many sides can serve as a base of a
monotone mountain?).
We mark the top points and bottom points as special: these are not used as ear tips. We walk
down (top to bottom) each non-base chain, identifying ear tips as we go by a simple local test: is
the vertex strictly convex? (O(1)) In principle, we can pick any (non-top, non-bottom) vertex that
is convex and clip its corresponding ear; however, the rule I used in class specified that we always
choose the highest (“highest” means with respect to vertical, the direction of monotonicity we are
using) convex vertex of the non-base chain. We then get a unique triangulation of each, as shown
(4). Give an example of a simple polygon P having an even number (at least 6) of vertices, but for
which it is impossible to partition P using diagonals into convex quadrilaterals (4-sides polygons).
The polygon below is an example: There are only 3 possible diagonals, and none of them
partition the polygon into quadrilaterals (convex or nonconvex). There are many, many examples.

I show the figures below. You can see the color of the segments (red, blue, green) in the
electronic versions that are posted on the web.
I number the green diagonals with “1” or “2” to indicate the order in which they will be found
in the monotone mountain triangulation of each separate piece (hence, there are several “1’s”),
assuming that we triangulate from “top to bottom” (in the search for convex vertices that define
Polygon P1
Polygon P2

Polygon P1
Polygon P2

1 2
1 1 1
1 1
2 1

1 Polygon P1
Polygon P2