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Fast Approximate Union Volume in High Dimensions with Line Samples

Mitchell, Scott A.; Awad, Muhammad A.; Ebeida, Mohamed S.; Swiler, Laura P.

The classical problem of calculating the volume of the union of d-dimensional balls is known as "Union Volume." We present line-sampling approximation algorithms for Union Volume. Our methods may be extended to other Boolean operations, such as setminus; or to other shapes, such as hyper-rectangles. The deterministic, exact approaches for Union Volume do not scale well to high dimensions. However, we adapt several of these exact approaches to approximation algorithms based on sampling. We perform local sampling within each ball using lines. We have several variations, depending on how the overlapping volume is partitioned, and depending on whether radial, axis-aligned, or other line patterns are used. Our variations fall within the family of Monte Carlo sampling, and hence have about the same theoretical convergence rate, 1 /$\sqrt{M}$, where M is the number of samples. In our limited experiments, line-sampling proved more accurate per unit work than point samples, because a line sample provides more information, and the analytic equation for a sphere makes the calculation almost as fast. We performed a limited empirical study of the efficiency of these variations. We suggest a more extensive study for future work. We speculate that different ball arrangements, differentiated by the distribution of overlaps in terms of volume and degree, will benefit the most from patterns of line samples that preferentially capture those overlaps. Acknowledgement We thank Karl Bringman for explaining his BF-ApproxUnion (ApproxUnion) algorithm [3] to us. We thank Josiah Manson for pointing out that spoke darts oversample the center and we might get a better answer by uniform sampling. We thank Vijay Natarajan for suggesting random chord sampling. The authors are grateful to Brian Adams, Keith Dalbey, and Vicente Romero for useful technical discussions. This work was sponsored by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program at Sandia National Laboratories. This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), Applied Mathematics Program. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525.