Topological stability of kinetic k-centers

Ivor van der Hoog, Marc J. van Kreveld, Wouter Meulemans, Kevin Verbeek (Corresponding author), Jules Wulms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

162 Downloads (Pure)


We study the k-center problem in a kinetic setting: given a set of continuously moving points P in the plane, determine a set of k (moving) disks that cover P at every time step, such that the disks are as small as possible at any point in time. Whereas the optimal solution over time may exhibit discontinuous changes, many practical applications require the solution to be stable: the disks must move smoothly over time. Existing results on this problem require the disks to move with a bounded speed, but this model allows positive results only for k<3. Hence, the results are limited and offer little theoretical insight. Instead, we study the topological stability of k-centers. Topological stability was recently introduced and simply requires the solution to change continuously, but may do so arbitrarily fast. We prove upper and lower bounds on the ratio between the radii of an optimal but unstable solution and the radii of a topologically stable solution—the topological stability ratio—considering various metrics and various optimization criteria. For k=2 we provide tight bounds, and for small k>2 we can obtain nontrivial lower and upper bounds. Finally, we provide an algorithm to compute the topological stability ratio in polynomial time for constant k.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
W. Meulemans and J. Wulms are (partially) supported by the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC) under grant number 027.015.G02 . K. Verbeek is supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under project no. 639.021.541 . Research on the topic of this paper was initiated at the 3rd Workshop on Applied Geometric Algorithms (AGA 2017) in Vierhouten, The Netherlands, supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under project no. 639.023.208 .


  • Mobile facility location
  • Stability analysis
  • Time-varying data


Dive into the research topics of 'Topological stability of kinetic k-centers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this