Local Gathering of Mobile Robots in Three Dimensions
In this work, we initiate the research about the Gathering problem for robots
with limited viewing range in the three-dimensional Euclidean space. In the
Gathering problem, a set of initially scattered robots is required to gather at
the same position. The robots' capabilities are very restricted -- they do not
agree on any coordinate system or compass, have a limited viewing range, have
no memory of the past and cannot communicate. We study the problem in two
different time models, in FSYNC (fully synchronized discrete rounds) and the
continuous time model. For FSYNC, we introduce the 3D-Go-To-The-Center-strategy
and prove a runtime of $\Theta(n^2)$ that matches the currently best runtime
bound for the same model in the Euclidean plane [SPAA'11]. Our main result is
the generalization of contracting strategies (continuous time) from
[Algosensors'17] to three dimensions. In contracting strategies, every robot
that is located on the global convex hull of all robots' positions moves with
full speed towards the inside of the convex hull. We prove a runtime bound of
$O(\Delta \cdot n^{3/2})$ for any three-dimensional contracting strategy, where
$\Delta$ denotes the diameter of the initial configuration. This comes up to a
factor of $\sqrt{n}$ close to the lower bound of $\Omega (\Delta \cdot n)$
which is already true in two dimensions. In general, it might be hard for
robots with limited viewing range to decide whether they are located on the
global convex hull and which movement maintains the connectivity of the swarm,
rendering the design of concrete contracting strategies a challenging task. We
prove that the continuous variant of 3D-Go-To-The-Center is contracting and
keeps the swarm connected. Moreover, we give a simple design criterion for
three-dimensional contracting strategies that maintains the connectivity of the
swarm and introduce an exemplary strategy based on this criterion.
Best Student Paper Award
Springer
application/pdf