"Geometry is the noblest branch of physics."
- W. F. Osgood
The rotating calipers constitutes a powerful, simple
elegant tool that can solve many computational geometric problems
in practice. The idea was first proposed by Michael
Shamos in his Ph.D. thesis in 1978 for computing the diameter of a
convex polygon. The animated gif above illustrates his idea. I coined
name "Rotating Calipers" for the procedure
and generalized it to solve many other problems. In 1983 I presented
of these results at a conference in Athens, Greece in the following
Godfried T. Toussaint, "Solving
problems with the rotating calipers," Proceedings of IEEE
Athens, Greece, May 1983.
Soon we will have a lot more here. In the mean time
are some more links. Also check out Orm's Rotating
Caliper Page with
information, and animated gifs. The nice animated gif above was made by
him. Orm's page also has links to his thesis which contains detailed
of the results in the above paper as well as many more results.
"When the solution is simple, God is answering."