# Maximum number of points attaining acute angles in $\mathbb{R}^n$

In $\mathbb{R}^n$ consider three points $v_i$. Here at $v_2$ the angle $\angle v_1v_2v_3$ is acute if it is strictly smaller then $\frac{\pi}{2}$.

Note that in $\mathbb{R}^2$, one can find three points such that

all angles are acute.

For example, an equilateral triangle.

But there are no $4$ point satisfying such property.

Taking a regular tetrahedron in $\mathbb{R}^3$, we have $4$ points satisfying such a property.

Hence can we conclude that the maximum number of points in $\mathbb{R}^n$ with the above angle property is equal to or smaller than $n+1$?

Is this right ? Thank you in advance.

• I have slightly modified your text. I wish you agree with it. May 10, 2017 at 1:46
• I agree with you. Thank you for your editing. May 10, 2017 at 1:48
• There have been significant advances in this problem: math.stackexchange.com/questions/2363546/tight-acute-sets Jan 1, 2018 at 0:18

We will say that a set on $N$ points has the Acute Angle Configuration (AAC) if all the angles that can be formed with 3 points among them are acute;

First of all, here is a very readable reference that brings additional information to the reference given by @Théophile: Sets of points determining only acute angles and some related colouring problems by David Bevan:

oro.open.ac.uk/33661/1/Acute.pdf

with the very interesting arrays that can be found in page 9 and that I reproduce here:

On my side, I have written the following Matlab program that makes random searches in $\mathbb{R}^D$ for $N$ AAC points.

clear all;
N=5;D=3;
b=nchoosek(N,3);%total number of triangles
I=nchoosek(1:N,3);
G=0;
Ns=10000;
for k=1:Ns;
P=rand(N,D);
T=[];
for p=1:b
J=I(p,:);
A=P(J(1),:);B=P(J(2),:);C=P(J(3),:);%triangle
U=A-B;V=B-C;W=C-A; % its vectorialized sides
T=[T,-U*W',-U*V',-V*W']; % dot products of these vectors
end;
if all(T>0)
P
G=G+1;
end;
end;
G/Ns %percentage of hits (successes)


For example, finding 5 AAC points in $\mathbb{R^3}$ has necessitated a rather long execution time, meaning that such a configuration "at the limit" is exceptional:

$$\begin{array}{lll} (0.6842, \ \ & 0.2992, \ \ & 0.7554)\\ (0.2169, \ \ & 0.0480, \ \ & 0.2551)\\ (0.6766, \ \ & 0.1850, \ \ & 0.1968)\\ (0.2088, \ \ & 0.3158, \ \ & 0.7579)\\ (0.4731, \ \ & 0.8037, \ \ & 0.0771) \end{array}$$

To my own surprise, I have, with this program, found almost instantly a solution with $N=6$ and $D=5$ which is:

$$\begin{array}{lll} 0, & \ 0, & \ 1, & 0, & \ 0 \\ 1, & \ 1, & \ 0, & \ 0, & \ 1\\ 1, & \ 1, & \ 1, & \ 1, & \ 0\\ 1, & \ 0, & \ 0, & \ 1, & \ 1\\ 0, & \ 1, & \ 0, & \ 1, & \ 0 \\ 0, & \ 1, & \ 1, & \ 1, & \ 1 \end{array}$$

For example, for $\mathbb{R}^D=\mathbb{R}^{11}$, the Matlab program finds the following $N=12$ AAC points, proving that $\kappa(11) \geq 12$.

$$\begin{array}{rrrrrrrrrrr} (836, \ \ 807, \ \ 929, \ \ 118, \ \ 242, \ \ 354, \ \ 125,\ \ 178, \ \ 310, \ \ 631, \ \ 2)\\ (73, \ \ 687, \ \ 470, \ \ 40, \ \ 163, \ \ 466, \ \ 782, \ \ 788, \ \ 493, \ \ 314, \ \ 777) \\ (248, \ \ 279, \ \ 666, \ \ 485, \ \ 574, \ \ 477, \ \ 883, \ \ 663, \ \ 24, \ \ 270, \ \ 299) \\ (738, \ \ 742, \ \ 563, \ \ 869, \ \ 304, \ \ 786, \ \ 517, \ \ 855, \ \ 586, \ \ 871, \ \ 28) \\ (982, \ \ 823, \ \ 731, \ \ 297, \ \ 880, \ \ 936, \ \ 355, \ \ 672, \ \ 779, \ \ 796, \ \ 76) \\ (335, \ \ 395, \ \ 900, \ \ 148, \ \ 527, \ \ 240, \ \ 981, \ \ 727, \ \ 923, \ \ 97, \ \ 655) \\ (283, \ \ 663, \ \ 937, \ \ 309, \ \ 617, \ \ 812, \ \ 247, \ \ 478, \ \ 896, \ \ 729, \ \ 866) \\ (604, \ \ 466, \ \ 248, \ \ 349, \ \ 754, \ \ 834, \ \ 862, \ \ 937, \ \ 531, \ \ 75, \ \ 582) \\ (410, \ \ 750, \ \ 299, \ \ 145, \ \ 483, \ \ 147, \ \ 176, \ \ 890, \ \ 749, \ \ 584, \ \ 56) \\ (973, \ \ 155, \ \ 541, \ \ 567, \ \ 102, \ \ 452, \ \ 471, \ \ 327 , \ \ 458, \ \ 832, \ \ 406) \\ (807, \ \ 575, \ \ 745, \ \ 158, \ \ 719, \ \ 881, \ \ 489, \ \ 960, \ \ 7, \ \ 836, \ \ 583) \\ (348, \ \ 181, \ \ 22, \ \ 207, \ \ 540, \ \ 773, \ \ 193, \ \ 90, \ \ 856, \ \ 837, \ \ 441). \end{array}$$

• Now, I think that I my answer is "stabilized" around the very good article by David Bevan. As often, the information is there, but we have not the good keywords... or we are impatient to work by ourselves... Could you give me your opinion about this answer ? May 10, 2017 at 9:11
• Thank you for your concern. And by an article you said I realized that five points in $\mathbb{R}^3$ is possible and it is largest. May 10, 2017 at 15:45
• Thanks for calling attention to a very interesting issue. Sorry for the many errors I did at first. May 10, 2017 at 15:47

An arxiv.org preprint by D. Zakharov proves that in $\mathbb{R}^n$ there is a set of at least $\sqrt{2}^{n+1.64}$ points, and a follow-up proves that there is a set of at least $\left(\frac{1+\sqrt 5}{2}\right)^n$ points.

I don't think it's reasonable to make such a conjecture based on two examples (and in fact there is a set of $5$ points in $\Bbb R^3$, so the tetrahedron is not a maximal example).

An article by Erdős and Füredi called The Greatest Angle Among $n$ Points in the $d$-Dimensional Euclidean Space shows that there is a set of at least $1.15^d$ points in $\Bbb R^d$ satisfying the given property.

• Thank you for your answer. And can you introduce such five points in $\mathbb{R}^3$ ? May 10, 2017 at 2:15

There have been significant advances in this problem: math.stackexchange.com/questions/2363546/tight-acute-sets

I have new lower bounds for the case when the points lie in {0,1}^n. Please see this: https://oeis.org/A089676

• When you have such small answers, as this one and the previous one on the same subject, you should group them by adding an "edit" to the first answer. Mar 26, 2018 at 22:27