# Geometric Multicut

We study the following separation problem: Given a collection of colored objects in the plane, compute a shortest "fence" F, i.e., a union of curves of minimum total length, that separates every two objects of different colors. Two objects are separated if F contains a simple closed curve that has one object in the interior and the other in the exterior. We refer to the problem as GEOMETRIC k-CUT, where k is the number of different colors, as it can be seen as a geometric analogue to the well-studied multicut problem on graphs. We first give an O(n^4^3 n)-time algorithm that computes an optimal fence for the case where the input consists of polygons of two colors and n corners in total. We then show that the problem is NP-hard for the case of three colors. Finally, we give a (2-4/3k)-approximation algorithm.

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