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Concept# Discrete geometry

Summary

Discrete geometry and combinatorial geometry are branches of geometry that study combinatorial properties and constructive methods of discrete geometric objects. Most questions in discrete geometry involve finite or discrete sets of basic geometric objects, such as points, lines, planes, circles, spheres, polygons, and so forth. The subject focuses on the combinatorial properties of these objects, such as how they intersect one another, or how they may be arranged to cover a larger object.
Discrete geometry has a large overlap with convex geometry and computational geometry, and is closely related to subjects such as finite geometry, combinatorial optimization, digital geometry, discrete differential geometry, geometric graph theory, toric geometry, and combinatorial topology.
Although polyhedra and tessellations had been studied for many years by people such as Kepler and Cauchy, modern discrete geometry has its origins in the late 19th century. Early topics studied were: the density of circle packings by Thue, projective configurations by Reye and Steinitz, the geometry of numbers by Minkowski, and map colourings by Tait, Heawood, and Hadwiger.
László Fejes Tóth, H.S.M. Coxeter, and Paul Erdős laid the foundations of discrete geometry.
Polyhedron and Polytope
A polytope is a geometric object with flat sides, which exists in any general number of dimensions. A polygon is a polytope in two dimensions, a polyhedron in three dimensions, and so on in higher dimensions (such as a 4-polytope in four dimensions). Some theories further generalize the idea to include such objects as unbounded polytopes (apeirotopes and tessellations), and abstract polytopes.
The following are some of the aspects of polytopes studied in discrete geometry:
Polyhedral combinatorics
Lattice polytopes
Ehrhart polynomials
Pick's theorem
Hirsch conjecture
circle packing and tessellation
Packings, coverings, and tilings are all ways of arranging uniform objects (typically circles, spheres, or tiles) in a regular way on a surface or manifold.

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