neal young / Lupton98Data

  • publication/Lupton98Data.png The goal of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is ``to map in detail one-quarter of the entire sky, determining the positions and absolute brightnesses of more than 100 million celestial objects''. The survey will be performed by taking ``snapshots'' through a large telescope. Each snapshot can capture up to 600 objects from a small circle of the sky (as illustrated here). This paper describes the design and implementation of the algorithm that is being used to determine the snapshots so as to minimize their number. The problem is NP-hard in general; the algorithm described is a heuristic, based on Lagrangian-relaxation and min-cost network flow. It gets within 5-15% of a naive lower bound, whereas using a ``uniform'' cover only gets within 25-35%.
    Journal version of [1996].

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