On Contact Points of Convex Bodies

  • Nikhil SrivastavaEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mathematics book series (LNM, volume 2050)


We show that for every convex body K in \({\mathbb{R}}^{n}\), there is a convex body H such that
$$H \subset K \subset c \cdot H\qquad \qquad \text{ with}\ c = 2.24$$
and H has at most O(n) contact points with the minimal volume ellipsoid that contains it. When K is symmetric, we can obtain the same conclusion for every constant c > 1. We build on work of Rudelson [Israel J. Math. 101(1), 92–124 (1997)], who showed the existence of H with \(O(n\log n)\) contact points. The approximating body H is constructed using the “barrier” method of Batson, Spielman, and the author, which allows one to extract a small set of vectors with desirable spectral properties from any John’s decomposition of the identity. The main technical contribution of this paper is a way of controlling the mean of the vectors produced by that method, which is necessary in the application to John’s decompositions of nonsymmetric bodies.


Convex Bodies Rudelson Non-symmetric Bodies Main Technical Contribution John Ellipsoid 
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The author wishes to thank Daniel Spielman for helpful comments as well as the Department of Computer Science at Yale University, where this work was done.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematical Sciences Research InstituteBerkeleyUSA

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