Approximating minimum Steiner point trees in Minkowski planes



Given a set of points, we define a minimum Steiner point tree to be a tree interconnecting these points and possibly some additional points such that the length of every edge is at most 1 and the number of additional points is minimized. We propose using Steiner minimal trees to approximate minimum Steiner point trees. It is shown that in arbitrary metric spaces this gives a performance difference of at most 2n - 4, where n is the number of terminals. We show that this difference is best possible in the Euclidean plane, but not in Minkowski planes with parallelogram unit balls. We also introduce a new canonical form for minimum Steiner point trees in the Euclidean plane; this demonstrates that minimum Steiner point trees are shortest total length trees with a certain discrete-edge-length condition. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. NETWORKS, 2010