Flips in triangulations have received a lot of attention over the past decades. However, the problem of tracking where particular edges go during the flipping process has not been addressed. We examine this question by attaching unique labels to the triangulation edges. We introduce the concept of the orbit of an edge e, which is the set of all edges reachable from e via flips. We establish the first upper and lower bounds on the diameter of the flip graph in this setting. Specifically, we prove tight Θ(nlog⁡n) bounds for edge-labelled triangulations of n-vertex convex polygons and combinatorial triangulations, contrasting with the Θ(n) bounds in their respective unlabelled settings. The Ω(nlog⁡n) lower bound for the convex polygon setting might be of independent interest, as it generalizes lower bounds on certain sorting models. When simultaneous flips are allowed, the upper bound for convex polygons decreases to O(log2⁡n), although we no longer have a matching lower bound. Moving beyond convex polygons, we show that edge-labelled triangulated polygons with a single reflex vertex can have a disconnected flip graph. This is in sharp contrast with the unlabelled case, where the flip graph is connected for any triangulated polygon. For spiral polygons, we provide a complete characterization of the orbits. This allows us to decide connectivity of the flip graph of a spiral polygon in linear time. We also prove an upper bound of O(n2) on the diameter of each connected component, which is optimal in the worst case. We conclude with an example of a non-spiral polygon whose flip graph has diameter Ω(n3).

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Computational Geometry
School of Computer Science

Bose, P, Lubiw, A. (Anna), Pathak, V. (Vinayak), & Verdonschot, S. (Sander). (2018). Flipping edge-labelled triangulations. Computational Geometry, 68, 309–326. doi:10.1016/j.comgeo.2017.06.005