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# 5.4 Non-Uniqueness

The definition of the Delaunay Triangulation for a given point set usually results in a unique triangulation/tetrahedralization of . No two different triangulations/tetrahedralizations exist for the same point set which both satisfy the Delaunay property. However, degenerate subsets of points in can be formed which lead to non-uniqueness.

Definition 5.2 (cospherical point set)   Let be a finite set of points in -dimensional space . At least points are said to be cospherical if and only if they are located on the perimeter of an -dimensional sphere where does not contain any other points in .

In such cases the length of a Voronoi edge or the area of a Voronoi facet is zero. Hence, the corresponding Delaunay edges and facets are missing in the dual graph, and non-simplicial polygons/polyhedra are formed. These can be arbitrarily triangulated/tetrahedralized, because their topology remains undefined by the Delaunay criterion.

In two dimensions such point sets are often called cocircular. However, one should be aware that cocircularity in three dimensions refers to a more specific degeneracy. It is useful to distinguish this special degenerate case which only occurs in dimensions higher than two.

Definition 5.3 (cocircular point set)   Let be a finite set of points in three-dimensional space . More than three coplanar points are said to be cocircular in if and only if they are located on the perimeter of a two-dimensional circle in where defines a disk which contains no other points in .

In fact a cocircular point set in three dimensions implies the existence of two intersecting cospherical point sets. This is true as long as at least one other point exists in each half space defined by the plane of the cocircular point set.

Degenerate cases require specially enhanced algorithms to ensure a robust Delaunay Triangulation engine. None of the above listed Delaunay algorithms remain entirely unaffected. For the incremental search based algorithm the consequences are discussed in detail in Section 6.4.3 and the implementation of a new and unconventional solution is presented. A more typical approach to avoid degenerate cases is to apply perturbations to the location of the points [114,115,81]. However, this technique is not as straightforward as it appears and other difficulties arise.

• It must be guaranteed that the perturbations destroy all cospherical subsets and that they do not create new cospherical subsets.
• It can be shown that the number of sliver elements increases greatly when cospherical point sets are perturbed. Additive noise does not affect a random point set by nature, but the quality of a tetrahedralization of an ortho-product point set is significantly reduced.
• If it is not permitted to dislocate certain points, e.g. vertices of the boundary, the temporary additive noise must be removed when the topology is set which is after the triangulation/tetrahedralization. This is not easy because the sliver elements which have been caused by the additive noise reach zero volume when the points are re-positioned to their original location.

Next: 5.5 Boundary Integrity Up: 5. Delaunay Triangulation Previous: 5.3.5 Convex Hull
Peter Fleischmann
2000-01-20