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Constructibility classes for triangle location problems. (English) Zbl 1342.51017
Summary: Straightedge-and-compass construction problems are well known for different reasons. One of them is the difficulty to prove that a problem is not constructible: it took about two millennia to prove that it is not possible in general to cut an angle into three equal parts by using only straightedge and compass. Today, such proofs rely on algebraic tools difficult to apprehend by high school student. On the other hand, the technique of problem reduction is often used in theory of computation to prove other kinds of impossibility. In this paper, we adapt the notion of reduction to geometric constructions in order to have geometric proofs for unconstructibility based on a set of problems known to be unconstructible. Geometric reductions can also be used with constructible problems: in this case, besides having constructibility, the reduction also yields a construction. To make the things concrete, we focus this study to a corpus of triangle location problems proposed by W. Wernick [Math. Mag. 55, 227–230 (1982; Zbl 0497.51016)].

51M15 Geometric constructions in real or complex geometry
68T20 Problem solving in the context of artificial intelligence (heuristics, search strategies, etc.)
Full Text: DOI
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