Folding and Unfolding (Erik Demaine)

Folding and unfolding is an exciting area of geometry. It is attractive in the way that problems and even results can be easily understood, with little knowledge of mathematics or computer science, yet the solutions are difficult and involve many sophisticated techniques. The general sort of problem considered is how a particular object (e.g., linkage, piece of paper, polyhedron, or protein) can be reconfigured or folded according to a few constraints, which depend on the object being folded and the problem of interest. In particular, we are interested in efficient algorithms for characterizing foldability, and finding efficient folding processes, or in proving that such algorithms are impossible.