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Topological Complexity of Motion Planning

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Abstract. In this paper we study a notion of topological complexity TC(X) for the motion planning problem. TC(X) is a number which measures discontinuity of the process of motion planning in the configuration space X . More precisely, TC(X) is the minimal number k such that there are k different "motion planning rules," each defined on an open subset of X× X , so that each rule is continuous in the source and target configurations. We use methods of algebraic topology (the Lusternik—Schnirelman theory) to study the topological complexity TC(X) . We give an upper bound for TC(X) (in terms of the dimension of the configuration space X ) and also a lower bound (in terms of the structure of the cohomology algebra of X ). We explicitly compute the topological complexity of motion planning for a number of configuration spaces: spheres, two-dimensional surfaces, products of spheres. In particular, we completely calculate the topological complexity of the problem of motion planning for a robot arm in the absence of obstacles.

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Farber, . Topological Complexity of Motion Planning . Discrete Comput Geom 29, 211–221 (2003).

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  • Open Subset
  • Planning Problem
  • Motion Planning
  • Configuration Space
  • Algebraic Topology