Tiling groups for Wang tiles

Cristopher Moore, Ivan Rapaport, and Eric Remila

Proc. Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA) 2002.

We apply tiling groups and height functions to tilings of regions in the plane by Wang tiles, which are squares with colored boundaries where the colors of shared edges must match. We define a set of tiles as unambiguous if it contains all tiles equivalent to the identity in its tiling group. For all but one set of unambiguous tiles with two colors, we give efficient algorithms that tell whether a given region with colored boundary is tileable, show how to sample random tilings, and how to calculate the number of local moves or ``flips'' required to transform one tiling into another. We also analyze the lattice structure of the set of tilings, and study several examples with three and four colors as well.

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Cris Moore <moore@santafe.edu>