Advice Complexity of Treasure Hunt in Geometric Terrains

Andrzej Pelc, Ram Narayan Yadav

Treasure hunt is the task of finding an inert target by a mobile agent in an unknown environment. We consider treasure hunt in geometric terrains with obstacles. Both the terrain and the obstacles are modeled as polygons and both the agent and the treasure are modeled as points. The agent navigates in the terrain, avoiding obstacles, and finds the treasure when there is a segment of length at most 1 between them, unobstructed by the boundary of the terrain or by the obstacles. The cost of finding the treasure is the length of the trajectory of the agent. We investigate the amount of information that the agent needs a priori in order to find the treasure at cost $O(L)$, where $L$ is the length of the shortest path in the terrain from the initial position of the agent to the treasure, avoiding obstacles. Following the paradigm of algorithms with advice, this information is given to the agent in advance as a binary string, by an oracle cooperating with the agent and knowing the whole environment: the terrain, the position of the treasure and the initial position of the agent. Advice complexity of treasure hunt is the minimum length of the advice string (up to multiplicative constants) that enables the agent to find the treasure at cost $O(L)$. We first consider treasure hunt in regular terrains which are defined as convex polygons with convex $c$-fat obstacles, for some constant $c>1$. A polygon is $c$-fat if the ratio of the radius of the smallest disc containing it to the radius of the largest disc contained in it is at most $c$. For the class of regular terrains, we establish the exact advice complexity of treasure hunt. We then show that advice complexity of treasure hunt for the class of arbitrary terrains (even for non-convex polygons without obstacles, and even for those with only horizontal or vertical sides) is exponentially larger than for regular terrains.

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