The Geometry Junkyard


The Japanese art of paper folding is obviously geometrical in nature. Some origami masters have looked at constructing geometric figures such as regular polyhedra from paper. In the other direction, some people have begun using computers to help fold more traditional origami designs. This idea works best for tree-like structures, which can be formed by laying out the tree onto a paper square so that the vertices are well separated from each other, allowing room to fold up the remaining paper away from the tree. Bern and Hayes (SODA 1996) asked, given a pattern of creases on a square piece of paper, whether one can find a way of folding the paper along those creases to form a flat origami shape; they showed this to be NP-complete. Related theoretical questions include how many different ways a given pattern of creases can be folded, whether folding a flat polygon from a square always decreases the perimeter, and whether it is always possible to fold a square piece of paper so that it forms (a small copy of) a given flat polygon.

From the Geometry Junkyard, computational and recreational geometry pointers.
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David Eppstein, Theory Group, ICS, UC Irvine.
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