Direction-Critical Configurations in Noncentral General Position
Discrete and Computational Geometry, Graphs, and Games
Keywords:slope-critical, direction-critical, generalized configuration of points, pseudoline arrangement, allowable sequence, centrally symmetric, noncentral general position
In 1982, Ungar proved that the connecting lines of a set of $n$ noncollinear points in the plane determine at least $2\lfloor n/2 \rfloor$ directions (slopes). Sets achieving this minimum for $n$ odd (even) are called direction-(near)-critical and their full classification is still open. To date, there are four known infinite families and over 100 sporadic critical configurations. Jamison conjectured that any direction-critical configuration with at least 50 points belongs to those four infinite families. Interestingly, except for a handful of sporadic configurations, all these configurations are centrally symmetric. We prove Jamison's conjecture, and extend it to the near-critical case, for centrally symmetric configurations in noncentral general position, where only the connecting lines through the center of symmetry may pass through more than two points. As in Ungar's proof, our results are proved in the more general setting of allowable sequences. We show that, up to equivalence, the central signature of a set uniquely determines a centrally symmetric direction-(near)-critical allowable sequence in noncentral general position, and classify such allowable sequences that are geometrically realizable.