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An almost optimal bound on the number of intersections of two simple polygons

by   Eyal Ackerman, et al.

What is the maximum number of intersections of the boundaries of a simple m-gon and a simple n-gon, assuming general position? This is a basic question in combinatorial geometry, and the answer is easy if at least one of m and n is even: If both m and n are even, then every pair of sides may cross and so the answer is mn. If exactly one polygon, say the n-gon, has an odd number of sides, it can intersect each side of the m-gon at most n-1 times; hence there are at most mn-m intersections. It is not hard to construct examples that meet these bounds. If both m and n are odd, the best known construction has mn-(m+n)+3 intersections, and it is conjectured that this is the maximum. However, the best known upper bound is only mn-(m + ⌈n/6⌉), for m ≥ n. We prove a new upper bound of mn-(m+n)+C for some constant C, which is optimal apart from the value of C.


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