Geometric constraint subsets and subgraphs in the analysis of assemblies and mechanisms

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Oscar E. Ruiz


graph cycle, Groebner basis, constraint graph, mechanisms, assemblies.


Geometric Reasoning ability is central to many applications in CAD/CAM/CAPP environments. An increasing demand exists for Geometric Reasoning systems which evaluate the feasibility of virtual scenes specified by geometric relations. Thus, the Geometric Constraint Satisfaction or Scene Feasibility (GCS/SF) problem consists of a basic scenario containing geometric entities, whose context is used to propose constraining relations among still undefined entities. If the constraint specification is consistent, the answer of the problem is one of finitely or infinitely many solution scenarios satisfying the prescribed constraints. Otherwise, a diagnostic of inconsistency is expected. The three main approaches used for this problem are numerical, procedural or operational and mathematical. Numerical and procedural approaches answer only part of the problem, and are not complete in the sense that a failure to provide an answer does not preclude the existence of one. The mathematical approach previously presented by the authors describes the problem using a set of polynomial equations. The common roots to this set of polynomials characterizes the solution space for such a problem. That work presents the use of Groebner basis techniques for verifying the consistency of the constraints. It also integrates subgroups of the Special Euclidean Group of Displacements SE(3) in the problem formulation to exploit the structure implied by geometric relations. Although theoretically sound, these techniques require large amounts of computing resources. This work proposes Divide-and-Conquer techniques applied to local GCS/SF subproblems to identify strongly constrained clusters of geometric entities. The identification and preprocessing of these clusters generally reduces the effort required in solving the overall problem. Cluster identification can be related to identifying short cycles in the Spatial Constraint graph for the GCS/SF problem. Their preprocessing uses the aforementioned Algebraic Geometry and Group theoretical techniques on the local GCS/SF problems that correspond to these cycles. Besides improving the efficiency of the solution approach, the Divide-and-Conquer techniques capture the physical essence of the problem. This is illustrated by applying the discussed techniques to the analysis of the degrees of freedom of mechanisms.

MSC: 68U07


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