Position discovery for a system of bouncing robots

Jurek Czyzowicz, Leszek Gąsieniec, Adrian Kosowski, Evangelos Kranakis, Oscar Morales-Ponce, Eduardo Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A collection of n anonymous mobile robots is deployed on a unit-perimeter ring or a unit-length line segment. Every robot starts moving at constant speed, and bounces each time it meets any other robot or segment endpoint, changing its walk direction. We study the problem of position discovery, in which the task of each robot is to detect the presence and the initial positions of all other robots. The robots cannot communicate or perceive information about the environment in any way other than by bouncing nor they have control over their walks which are determined by their initial positions and their starting directions. Each robot has a clock allowing it to observe the times of its bounces. We give complete characterizations of all initial configurations for both the ring and the segment in which no position detection algorithm exists and we design optimal position detection algorithms for all feasible configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-133
Number of pages12
JournalInformation and Computation
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Algorithms
  • Complexity
  • Computing
  • Detection
  • Distributed
  • Mobile
  • Position
  • Robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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