Given a loop on a surface, its homotopy class can be specified as a word consisting of letters representing the homotopy group generators. One of the interesting problems is how to compute the shortest word for a given loop. This is an NP-hard problem in general. However, for a closed surface that allows a hyperbolic metric and is equipped with a canonical set of fundamental group generators, the shortest word problem can be reduced to finding the shortest loop that is homotopic to the given loop, which can be solved efficiently. In this paper, we propose an efficient algorithm to compute the shortest words for loops given on triangulated surface meshes. The design of this algorithm is inspired and guided by the work of Dehn and BirmanSeries. In support of the shortest word algorithm, we also propose efficient algorithms to compute shortest paths and shortest loops under hyperbolic metrics using a novel
We consider a volume maximization program to construct hyperbolic structures on triangulated 3-manifolds, for which previous progress has lead to consider angle assignments which do not correspond to a hyperbolic metric on each simplex. We show that critical points of the generalized volume are associated to geometric structures modeled on the extended hyperbolic space-the natural extension of hyperbolic space by the de Sitter space-except for the degenerate case where all simplices are Euclidean in a generalized sense.