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Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Computer Science Building, Room 151
"How Far Can You Reach? A Tale of Geometry, Robots and Proteins"
Robot arms and protein backbones can be described as three-dimensional polygonal chains with fixed lengths and angles. One of the most fundamental questions in Robotics, open for over 30 years, asks for a mathematical characterization and efficient computation of the maximum reach: the farthest achievable distance between the polygon's endpoints. Until now only numerical approximation methods were known.