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In mathematics, the vertex enumeration problem for a polytope, a polyhedral cell complex, a hyperplane arrangement, or some other object of discrete geometry, is the problem of determination of the object's vertices given some formal representation of the object. A classical example is the problem of enumeration of the vertices of a convex polytope specified by a set of linear inequalities: [1]

where A is an m×n matrix, x is an n×1 column vector of variables, and b is an m×1 column vector of constants. The inverse ( dual) problem of finding the bounding inequalities given the vertices is called facet enumeration (see convex hull algorithms).

Computational complexity

The computational complexity of the problem is a subject of research in computer science. For unbounded polyhedra, the problem is known to be NP-hard, more precisely, there is no algorithm that runs in polynomial time in the combined input-output size, unless P=NP. [2]

A 1992 article by David Avis and Komei Fukuda [3] presents a reverse-search algorithm which finds the v vertices of a polytope defined by a nondegenerate system of n inequalities in d dimensions (or, dually, the v facets of the convex hull of n points in d dimensions, where each facet contains exactly d given points) in time O(ndv) and space O(nd). The v vertices in a simple arrangement of n hyperplanes in d dimensions can be found in O(n2dv) time and O(nd) space complexity. The Avis–Fukuda algorithm adapted the criss-cross algorithm for oriented matroids.


  1. ^ Eric W. Weisstein CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics, 2002, ISBN  1-58488-347-2, p. 3154, article "vertex enumeration"
  2. ^ Leonid Khachiyan; Endre Boros; Konrad Borys; Khaled Elbassioni; Vladimir Gurvich (March 2008). "Generating All Vertices of a Polyhedron Is Hard". Discrete and Computational Geometry. 39 (1–3): 174–190. doi: 10.1007/s00454-008-9050-5.
  3. ^ David Avis; Komei Fukuda (December 1992). "A pivoting algorithm for convex hulls and vertex enumeration of arrangements and polyhedra". Discrete and Computational Geometry. 8 (1): 295–313. doi: 10.1007/BF02293050.